A CAMPAIGN to 'Save the Bees' has launched after it was warned Bracknell's top ice hockey team may not survive the next six weeks if it can't plug a £125,000 financial black hole. 

Supporters of the Bracknell Bees have rallied around the club and set up a new crowd funding appeal for cash after Precision Sports Marketing revealed in March they would not continue to work with the club.

The revelation follows three seasons of financial struggle for the club which trains at the John Nike ice rink and they now need to convince sponsors and fans to stump up more than £100,000 to keep the team running for another season. 

Matthew Fettel, a long-time fan, has signed up to be one of three new directors at the team and will take on responsibility for the running of the club alongside a steering committee made up of fans and sponsors. 

He said: "Over the last three seasons the team has struggled massively financially so they have finished bottom or second from bottom in the league. We've had players that haven't been paid. Then PSM said they don't want to progress to next season, that means after 27 years that leaves Bracknell without an ice team. 

"I think the past has left fans and supporters a bit disillusioned, with promises that have been made and broken. We need to get that trust back. 

"We are not business men or women, we are fans of the club."

It costs £300,000 a season to keep the Bees on the ice, Matthew added, to cover the costs of everything from the equipment and players' wages to rink hire, kits and travel expenses. 

Andrew Cross and Ben Beeching, the managers of PSM, defended their record in February in a statement to fans which said attendance at matches was at an all time high and they had a 'Made in Bracknell' plan for the season ahead.
But after withdrawing their support, the future of the club has been cast into doubt. 

The crowd funding appeal hopes to raise enough for the initial costs of entering the team into the 2016/17 English Premier Ice Hockey League season. 

An impassioned Facebook post made by the Bracknell Bees Supporters Club at the end of March said: "The thought of no premier league hockey in Bracknell is just not an option is it? I can't imagine and refuse to believe that this club won't ice an EPL team in September. We have all worked so hard not to let this just die, surely?

"We cannot lose the Bees. It must survive. It has too. All the friendships made at the rink, players, fans, staff must continue. So please, please like, support, follow and do what you can however small. It's not a time to moan about how things went wrong last season and who is to blame. Let's focus and save our team." 

To donate to the cause visit their crowd funding page here.