Villagers have managed to save a much-loved community hall from the brink of closure.

Felsted's Royal British Legion Club committee was due to disband in January due to a lack of interest, which would have forced the clubhouse to close down.

But after a meeting in early-January and efforts by new volunteers, the clubhouse can stay open as a meeting place at the centre of Felsted village.

Bernard Saunders, who has been the clubhouse committee's secretary since 1972, said the level of interest from the community has been surprising.

Bernard said: "We have really saved it!

"I am so surprised.

"At a guess, around 45 people have expressed an interest in getting involved.

"We have installed Sky TV and have new entertainment, and we have hosted events almost every weekend since."

He said that Felsted is one of very few places in the country to have a Royal British Legion clubhouse, and that the building has been a meeting place in the village ever since he got involved 50 years ago.

The building is run separately from the Royal British Legion branch, which looks after events and the annual Poppy Appeal in the village.

Terry Nunn, branch secretary, said: "It's very impressive.

"All of a sudden, loads of people arrived.

"The threat of closure really meant something to a lot of villagers."

Terry said the branch can continue to use the club as a meeting place to host events and organise meetings.

He said: "We are all very pleased it has survived and it's upwards and onwards from here."

The chairman of Felsted Parish Council said the building's committee has been very generous to people in the village for several decades.

Councillor Graham Harvey said: "They have helped us out over the Christmas period, when they helped us run lights from their building.

"The RBL Club has been in the village for such a long time.

"It's great to see so many people getting involved in village life.

"We would like to continue to support them in any way we that we can."

The club, on Bury Chase, has its own phone number: 01371 820847