PENSIONERS have made an empassioned plea to council leaders not to close their beloved activity centre.

Colchester Council is looking at shutting Abbots Activity Centre in Colchester in a bid to save an annual subsidy of £74,000.

It says it is unfair for the rest of the borough to pay for a facility which is only used by a tiny per cent of the population.

But members of the centre, most of whom are elderly and disabled, have begged the council to save the centre.

The Gazette revealed this week how it was costing the council £80,000 a year in business rates to pay for the disused former Keddies store in Queen Street.

Widow Iris Thompson, 85, treasurer of the Friends of Abbots, said: “The money they are spending on that would keep us going.”

The Friends who use the centre said, in a joint statement: “We believe the councillors are on the verge of making the worst decision in the history of this historic town.

“It will plunge this town into a darker time, the blueprint of the future, a darker future where the most vulnerable will be left by the wayside, hidden away, looking at four walls behind a door, out of sight, out of mind."

Colchester Council’s ruling Cabinet is due to decide on the centre’s future next month.