A CLUB which has raised cash for charity for 69 years is set to close this month due to dwindling numbers of members.

The Southend Inner Wheel club, has voted to close at the end of June.

The club was formed as a Rotary Club off-shoot for women members, but it expanded to include friends associated with the club.

At its peak, the Southend club had more than 40 members, but this dwindled to 22, some of whom were too elderly to attend meetings. Over the years it has raised many thousands of pounds for charity.

Member Janice Price said: “With no new members joining, and an understandable reluctance on the part of long-serving members to continue rotating the various offices, there was really no alternative.

“So sadly we held our last meeting on June 11.

“In recognition of the support and help that Inner Wheel has provided over the years, Southend Rotary president Ron Price organised a joint dinner at the Rendezvous Casino attended by Rotarians, their partners and Inner Wheel members.”

During its last year, the club raised £1,000 for Southend Talking Newspapers, through various events including a flower arranging evening. Mrs Price added: “It’s a real shame, but it is happening to all the clubs, including Rotary and the Round Table. So many people have to work long hours, particularly if they work in London, and women often have to work in the evening if they have children.

“Rotary clubs all over the country are suffering. It’s a great shame because they do an awful lot of charity work and do valued work in the community.”

When the accounts were finalised, Inner wheel was also able to give £100 each to Save the Children, Water Aid, Bust, Mary’s Meals, Turning Tides (SAVS), RNLI, Samaritans and Motor Neurone Support.