A widower has spoken out against the potential closure of the day centre that helped him cope with the death of his wife.

Day care centres and services could be closed if churches or voluntary organisations cannot run them for less money.

Four centres are at risk as Kingston Council seeks to shave £250,000 from its care budget by targeting services it has no legal duty to run.

Retired Michael Edgworth, 71, a former banknote printer who lives in Wessex Close, Kingston, started playing darts, snooker and doing line-dancing and tai chi at the Devon Way Centre in Chessington after his wife, Pauline, died two years ago.

He said: “I was just so depressed I was suicidal. I have enjoyed it so much. I have met so many lovely people.

“All of a sudden we have had a meeting with managers and they are talking about closure. We are worried silly about losing Devon Way.”

Newent House in Surbiton and the Causeway and Cocks Crescent centres in New Malden also provide day services and are under threat.

But the Alfriston Day Centre in Berrylands and the Milaap Centre in Kingston, which are already run by outside groups and receive grants of between £60,000 and £70,000, would not be threatened.

Councillor Rolson Davies, executive member for finance, said: “If we can’t find anyone to take on these services we provide for lower level care then the end of the road would be to say yes, they would close.”

Pensioner Pat Pritchard, who has handed in a 38-strong petition against closure, said: “We are the back end of the borough. It’s taken a long time to get any facilities for the older people. We still have many needs. It’s a lifeline for many older people.”

The Devon Way Centre was flooded a fortnight ago but has an indoor sports hall, an outdoor basketball court, a kitchen and a computer room, and is used by an over-55s club, youth clubs and external hirers.

Coun Davies said: “We would not like it to close if possible, but we can no longer afford to run services directly ourselves, so we are looking for partners to see if they can run it.

“It costs £136,000 to run a year. Of that, £14,000 is in charges. It’s an awful lot of money for the council.

“I don't want to see it close. If we can find a partner, a church or another voluntary sector that wants to come in with use then we will work with them.”

David Moss, manager of the Kings Centre in nearby Coppard Gardens, said he would be interested in running the over-55s group in the centre.

He said: “We’d love to serve the community more. We would be very interested to talk to the council about how we could work together."