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A NEW BEGINNING FOR HADSPEN HALL

Posted by admin on Jun 28, 2008 - 12:56 PM

Article from the 27th June 2008 edition of the Blackmore Vale Magazine

People living in and around Hadspen are celebrating the return of their treasured village hall.Hadspen Village Hall has served the hamlets of Hadspen, Pitcombe and Cole since 1938 but the years took their toll and a structural survey conducted more then eight years ago found the building's foundations to be unsafe. This rendered renovation infeasible so the building was demolished last October.

Thanks to an incredible community fundraising drive, which spanned eight years, the 200,000 project to rebuild the hall is now complete and the building was opened by Lady Gass, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, last Friday.

Speaking at the launch event, Peter Wyatt, chairman of the Trustees of Hadspen Village Hall, said: "Everyone in this village helps and respects each other - the village hall is the catalyst for this exceptional village spirit.

"May this hall continue the good work done by the old one. It was built by the community for the community."

The countless fundraising events held over the years included suppers, plant sales, a grand draw, quizzes, open gardens, an auction of promises, an attic sale, bridge days and much more. Through these events, the local community managed to raise 85,000. The Joint Somerset County and District Grant Scheme also provided 85,000 and Viridor Waste Management's Landfill Communities fund provided 20,000. Grants were also received from Pitcombe Parish Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest, the Country Gentlemen's Association and the Leonard Laity Stoate Charitable Foundation. Hadspen Short Mat Bowls Club and Hadspen Wine Club also gave donations.

The second phase was to create a new access and car park for the hall and the trust has been able to lease part of the adjoining orchard to accommodate this. Grants were awarded by Pitcombe Parish Council, the District Council Community Scheme, Awards for All and the Frontline Councillor Community Scheme towards this phase.

Pitcombe Parish council chairman Mike Taylor praised the amazing work of the local community, and the three people who emerged as the driving force behind the new village hall: Peter Wyatt, Carole Wyatt and Willie Constantine.

"People have worked very hard for years and years for this," he said.

To find out more about the hall, and how you can use it, visit www.hadspenvillagehall.org

Report and pictures by Mathew Manning

mmanning@bvmedia.co.uk