A CLOSING-down party turned into a celebration when Age Concern's Accrington cafe was given an 11th hour reprieve after Hyndburn Council came to the rescue.
The cafe, on Whalley Road, Accrington, was set to close at the end of the month after charity chiefs announced it was losing money.
The news was greeted with dismay by the cafe's customers as many of them have used it as a lifeline - somewhere to go for a cup of tea and a chat.
Many were so furious about the threat of closure that they organised a petition in a bid to make bosses think again and come up with a way to save the cafe.
The Observer letters page was also swamped with old folk writing in to express their fears over the proposed closure.
Former councillor Arthur Smith, 84, of Fordside Avenue, Clayton-le-Moors, who spearheaded the campaign, even wrote to the Observer appealing for businesses in the area to back the cafe to keep it open.
As a result of their efforts, the cafe has now been given a last-minute reprieve after Hyndburn Council stumped up £12,000 from its Community Chest Fund to keep the service running.
A presentation was held on Tuesday when chief executive Patrick Collister was presented with the money by council leader Peter Britcliffe.
The news was greeted with delight by Mr Smith who said: "I am really pleased that they have been able to keep the cafe open and would like to thank everyone for their help including the managers there, the customers and Greg Pope MP.
"I would also like to thank the Observer for its efforts as there is nothing like a bit of publicity in these cases. I think it is right and proper that the cafe has been kept going as it is a poor do if we cannot look after our old folk."
Mr Collister said Age Concern was delighted the cafe had been able to remain open and said a business plan would now be drawn up to look at ways to make it more cost-effective in the future.
This is likely to include looking at the pricing in the cafe in a bid to make sure it remains profitable in the years to come to prevent it coming under threat again.
Councillor Jean Lockwood, chairman of the council's Community Chest Fund, said: "We were pleased to be able to offer help to keep the cafe open as this is a vital service for the people of Hyndburn."