STOURPORT residents are delighted that an entrepreneur who founded an online dating business has stepped in to save a historic club. 

Darren Richards, who set up in the late 90s, is the new owner of the iconic Stourport Workmen’s Club which closed after the Covid pandemic hit.

Now, the Stourport businessman is refurbishing the club and transforming it into a live music venue which will feature a large function room, lounge bar, and sports room featuring snooker, American pool, and darts.

The club was formed in 1901 at its original Lombard Street site with its first president being former MP Alfred Baldwin - whose son Stanley went on to be Prime Minister.

Stanley Baldwin later became president of the club himself. The club relocated to its current Lickhill Road site in the 60s.

The venue was shut down in August 2022 and was later put on the market.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Club owner Darren Richards, trustee Colin Moore and secretary Doug IngramClub owner Darren Richards, trustee Colin Moore and secretary Doug Ingram (Image: Stourport Workmen's Club)

Mr Richards said developers interested in buying the site could have looked to flatten the club to build new homes.

He said it would have been a "travesty" if the town lost the "valued" venue.

The business was sold in 2007 and Mr Richards received a share of £30 million.

Mr Richards, who hopes to open the club in July, has also run bars and restaurants abroad.

The 56-year-old said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to create something truly special for the people of Stourport.

"The Stourport Workmen's Club has a rich history and has been an important part of the community for many years".

He added: "I am committed to preserving that history while also creating a modern, exciting venue that will appeal to a new generation of customers.

"I can't wait to see the club buzzing with activity once again."

Kidderminster Shuttle: Stourport Workmen's ClubStourport Workmen's Club (Image: Stourport Workmen's Club)

Stourport Mayor Tim Berry said: "I think it's a really good thing that it's saved.

"It's a great venue, it's got great parking, and it's easy to walk to from anywhere in the town.

"I want to wish Darren luck. Let's get it open again and get it going".

Former Stourport Mayor councillor Daniel Russell, who was a past club president, said he was "very pleased" that the club will be reopening.

He said: "I was the president for six years. I've been a member for 40-odd years.

"I'm certainly looking forward to going back”.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Inside the Stourport clubInside the Stourport club (Image: Stourport Workmen's Club)

Residents also took to the club's new Facebook page to share their joy at the plans to bring the club back to life.

Simon Hamblett said: "All the very best to you Darren, sounds like Stourport is going to get a valuable asset to the community back and a new addition to its evolving nightlife. Excellent plan”.

Gary Talbot said: "I'm very pleased that this important piece of Stourport’s history is going to continue, and that its rich history is going to be preserved".

Kidderminster Shuttle: The function room, called the Baldwin SuiteThe function room, called the Baldwin Suite (Image: Stourport Workmen's Club)

Andrea Kennerley said: "Good luck, so glad that the workmen's club is to be reopened. It should be a very popular venue."

A competition is now being run inviting people to suggest a name for the venue on the club's Facebook page.

The person whose suggestion is chosen will receive two years’ free membership at the new club as well as a £100 gift voucher to use at the club.