Willie Thorne snooker club in Leicester could be reopened
Campaigners fighting to save the Willie Thorne snooker club have been told there may be a chance of it reopening.
Olivia Thorne, whose father, Malcolm – Willie's brother – ran the club in Charles Street, Leicester, after it was set up 30 years ago, met city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby on Thursday.
The club was forced to shut three weeks ago as the landlord, the city council, wanted the building back for use as offices.
Olivia, 22, started an online petition to try to save the club, known most recently as Riley's Willie Thorne Club. It has attracted has more than 450 signatures .
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Olivia, of Loughborough, who met Sir Peter along with club manager Joy Woollaston, said: "It was a very good meeting and felt very positive.
"I appreciate the mayor taking the time to meet us face to face because I wanted to tell him how much this club means to us all.
"I have vowed to fight all the way to keep open the club that meant so much to my dear dad, who, sadly, died last year of cancer.
"He put his heart and soul into the club and I can't just sit back and let it disappear. It means so much to so many that I feel I owe it to dad to do all I can to try to keep the club going."
Sir Peter said he was happy to meet the delegation from the club.
He said: "We are going to get people down to the club to see if there is any way we can let the club carry on while utilising the office space.
"They want to carry on using the lounge, bar and kitchen and the main hall. We shall see if that is possible.
"If that is not possible, there are other options we can explore with regard to alternative venues in the city.
"There is a strong attachment between the Willie Thorne Snooker Club and the city and vice versa.
"We will do all we can to try to make sure that continues."
Ms Woollaston said she was encouraged by the meeting.
She said: "It is good to know that people at the top are listening to us. We have our fingers crossed."
Snooker stars Mark Selby and Jimmy White have spoken out in support of the campaign to keep the club open.
Leicester player Ben Woollaston, Joy's son, who is ranked number 40 in the world, said he learned his trade there.
He said: "I back the petition. We need Willie Thorne's to stay in Leicester."