Levin RSA closes its doors after nearly 100 years

Levin RSA closes its doors after nearly 100 years

Another Returned & Services Association (RSA) has closed its doors after nearly 100 years, with members conceding it's just a sign of the times.

Levin RSA opened in 1919 as a place for those to gather, who'd been involved in the war.

Nearly a century later it's closing its doors because its members are dying off.

A third of those remaining are in rest homes.

"It's a shame but, however, it's inevitable I think," says Levin RSA life member David Rippin.

Eighty-eight-year-old life member Wally Jensen served in the occupation of Japan, from 1947 to 1948. The RSA was his home away from home.

"I look forward to coming here and just having a wine or so each night. I'm sure it keeps it going," says Mr Jensen.

His mate, Keith Sporer, is a bit younger at 82 – another long-time regular.

"[It's] sad, very sad; mate's up in the cemetery now. It's sad," says Mr Sporer.

The thing people are reflecting on tonight is that when the place was built, it was actually built for a whole lot of guys in their early 20s and they would come weekend after weekend. The place would be packed. It was the social hub of Levin.

Levin RSA member Barbara Timms led the team that tried to save the club that her father helped build.

"We tried our very, very best, but unfortunately in today's world we have a lot of people in rest homes and they wouldn't drink and drive, and people aren't coming out of their homes as they used to," says Ms Timms.

Every member here has a special connection with Levin's RSA. One couple met on the dance floor after they lost their previous partners. They've been happily married for 10 years.

Bill and Joy have joined the Cosi club at the other end of town because like many other displaced members they don't want to lose their sense of community altogether.

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