Wednesbury social club hopes to 'get back to normal' after lorry death smash

A social club in Wednesbury hopes to ‘get back to normal’ when work finally begins to repair severe damage caused when a lorry ploughed through the wall of its building on Boxing Day.

The scene in Wednesbury after a lorry crashed into the Royal British Legion club.
The scene in Wednesbury after a lorry crashed into the Royal British Legion club.

Polish lorry driver Henryk Jackowski, 55, was killed when his vehicle smashed into the Royal British Legion base in Church Hill. Five months on from the tragedy, the club said members are still coming to terms with what happened.

Work to the repair the damaged part of the building will finally start on Monday – months later than originally expected.

Chairman Leigh Jones, 39, said it had been a ‘tremendously difficult year’ for the club.

“We had hoped to have the work completed by now but it has taken the insurance companies involved longer to work things out than expected,” he said.

“All of the contracts have now been signed and the bricklayers will begin work on Monday. Hopefully once that is done we can get back to normal.

“The damaged part of the building is still boarded up like it was just after the accident. We have put some fencing up around it to act as security but it has been the same since December.”

He said the smash had impacted the club in many ways – with around £2,000 lost in takings over the course of the year due to the loss of facilities.

“The lorry went into the games room which is where the snooker table was,” he said. “Because we have not had that for five months a lot of members who use to play a game of snooker have gone to other places.”

Mr Jones said some of those who had been in the building on the night of the crash had only come back on a few occasions.

“It is very sad but people were understandably very upset and some were frightened by what happened,” he added.

The smash happened during the venue's annual boxing day disco.

Crews were at the scene until midnight.

A cordon was set up closing off one side of High Bullen close to its junction with Church Hill, where the club stands. Both sides of the road were later sealed off by police as the HGV was pulled from the building where it had become embedded.

Just over a week later, the Church Hill club was dealt a second blow when it was raided. Members arrived to find two games machines had been forced open and cash had been stolen.