ONE of Peebles' most popular clubs has folded under a weight of debt.

But members and the associated pipe band have been offered a new home along the town's high street.

The Peebles Ex-Servicemen's Club closed its doors for the final time at the beginning of last week.

A combination of dropping numbers, increased costs and tax bills saw the 96-year-old club run into financial trouble last year.

Despite efforts from several long-standing committee members to save the School Brae club, they were forced to concede defeat during last month.

A spokesman for Peebles Ex-Servicemen's Club told us: "The club has been struggling over the past year or so.

"The club will be a big miss for a lot of people - it had a loyal membership, was home to the town's pipe band and played its part every year at the Beltane.

"It is with great sadness that we were left with no other option than closing."

Peebles Ex-Servicemen's Club - initially known as The Soldiers Club - was founded by veterans of the First World War.

They purchased the former Templars Hall on School Brae in 1922 and it was officially opened the following year by Lt Col William Thorburn.

The club boasted a membership of 500 at its opening and all the way through to the the 1980s and 90s it remained one of the busiest venues in the region.

As well as hosting official functions, weddings and parties, the premises were regularly used for coffee mornings and charity fundraisers.

As well as providing a social club for former soldiers and their families, the club was also home to the Ex-Servicemen's Pipe Band from its initial opening.

And for the past 96 years the pipers and drummers have regularly practised in the hall as well as using the club to store their equipment.

Since last week's devastating closure, Peebles Rugby Club has thrown open its doors on the Eastgate to welcome both the band and the members from the Ex-Servicemen's Club.

Peebles RFC president Mark Clancy told us: "It feels like the decent thing to do.

"The Exe-Servicemen's Club will be a huge miss for a lot of people in and around Peebles.

"We at the rugby club will honour everyone's memberships and the pipe band will still have somewhere to practice.

"Since last week, several members from the Ex-Servicemen's Club have taken up our offer and we hope to see many more."