Working men’s club bringing in top acts

NADV 1307027AM1 Bilton WMC Roy 'Chubby' Brown event. John Wrightson (Bilton WMC sec.), Darryl Keenoy (club steward), Michael Dinsdale (club president) and Alan Huddart (club treasurer) promoting an evening with Roy 'Chubby' Brown. (1307027AM1)

NADV 1307027AM1 Bilton WMC Roy 'Chubby' Brown event. John Wrightson (Bilton WMC sec.), Darryl Keenoy (club steward), Michael Dinsdale (club president) and Alan Huddart (club treasurer) promoting an evening with Roy 'Chubby' Brown. (1307027AM1)

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A working men’s club in Bilton is bucking the national trend by getting bigger names and bigger events in a boost for its ever-growing membership.

Bilton Working Men’s Club, which has around 1,200 members, has secured a performance from entertainer Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown in October.

This comes just months after hosting an evening with champion darts player Phil the Power Taylor, and is putting the club on the entertainment map in Harrogate.

“The guys that we worked with for the Phil the Power night asked us if we wanted to host it,” said club treasurer Alan Huddart. “Of course we said yes.

“They have big acts all the time but they were impressed with a venue so they took a risk with ticket sales, and we are enjoying the bigger and better acts. We’ve had a lot of interest already, we are hoping to sell out.”

The club is thriving in turbulent times. Brought back from the brink of closure two years ago, it was given an award in December for the most improved club in the county. It has stood on the same site for 100 years, opened its doors to women some years ago and is now very popular with families.

There is a traditional sports bar, snooker tables and live sports on TV, as well as a family lounge and the oak-floored concert room, licensed for 400 people.

“Of course, when we put a big name on then people will pay to see them,” said Mr Huddart. “But we are trying to get away from the more traditional acts. Although you can still come here on a Friday night and be sure of a good pint and some bingo.”

The club’s next big venture is Bilton’s first beer festival, planned for September. And while it’s still early days for organisers, they are hoping to have around 15 beers on, raising money for local charities.

Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown is to appear at Bilton Working Men’s Club on Saturday, October 19. Tickets are now on sale for the Up Close and Personal event, which has been billed by organisers as a unique opportunity to hear about Chubby’s life and career, with a few typical gags in along the way. He will be supported by comedian Mick Monroe. Tickets, 300 of which went on sale earlier this month, cost £20 or £30 for a VIP ticket which includes a picture with the entertainer and a reserved sear. To book, call 01423 504345 or email info@biltonwmc.co.uk.