A CAMPAIGN to save Darwen FC has ended after the club was wound up at a hearing at the High Court in London.

After 134 years, the Anchor Ground club has officially ceased to exist and dropped out of the Vodkat League following an order to wind up parent company Darwen Football and Social Club Ltd.

The action was taken due to money owed to two petitioners –– ING Lease UK and Thwaites Brewery.

Club owner Kevin Henry took control of the club last July, and said the dispute, over a £13,000 bill for beer and £9,000 for tools, related to the tenure of the previous boss of the club, Ted Ward.

Mr Henry spoke of his “great sadness” at the outcome, saying: “I feel that a large degree of the responsibility rests with me personally for this situation for it was me that brought Mr Ward into the club, albeit with the best of intentions.”

Mr Henry said he made the offer to personally fund providing creditors with 25p in the pound but that this offer was turned down by Thwaites.

But a spokesman for Daniel Thwaites Brewery said they were left with no other option but to take the steps.

He said: “We are proud of our reputation as a fair-minded company.

“We always try to talk things through with our customers and do our utmost to support them whenever problems arise.

“In line with this policy and over a five-month period between November 2008 and March 2009, we have made strenuous efforts to contact Darwen Football Club, but received no proposals despite numerous phone calls and letters.

“Unfortunately, we were left with no other option than to put the matter into the hands of the company solicitors and therefore seek legal advice on the matter.”

Former president Norman Walsh, who was trying to get a group of people together to raise funds, said it was “a sad day”, but declined to comment further.

Manager Dennis Hill, secretary Derek Slater and assistant manager Jimmy Khan are now looking at setting up AFC Darwen, a community-based club that would employ staff who ran and played for Darwen FC.

But any new club would have to start at the bottom of the league structure.