Dreams realised as new community centre is officially unveiled
- Credit: Terry Reeve
There were celebrations across a market town at the official unveiling of a brand new community centre.
After decades of planning, fundraising and delays, Saturday proved to be a red letter day for Bungay as the town's first ever purpose-built community centre was officially opened.
Dreams were realised as the building, costing more than £800,000, has been built on the old grammar school field in St John’s Road and replaces the original centre in Upper Olland Street.
The building, which is already in use, hosts many organisations and clubs during the week as the old centre is being replaced by housing.
With the old Honeypot Centre built before the Second World War, 77 years ago it became the social club for the American airmen of 446th Bomb Group based at the nearby Flixton airfield.
Fittingly the opening ceremony was performed by Col David Dickey from the USAAF base at Lakenheath.
Col Dickey said his research into the history of the 446th Bomb Group showed Flixton was home to four squadrons of B24 aircraft which flew 273 missions during the second world war, with the loss of 68 aircraft and many personnel.
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He said: “With this connection to the base at Flixton it is exciting to come here and perform this ceremony, and we greatly appreciate the invitation."
A brass plaque and citation given to the old centre by the 446th Veterans’ association in the 1980s was rededicated before he unveiled a new plaque to mark the opening.
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Col Dickey and his wife, Robin, were welcomed by the chairman of the community centre trustees, Judy Cloke, whose determination and hard work in recent years have seen the project finally become reality.
She thanked the organisations whose funding and other vital support had helped towards the cost of the project, including Suffolk County Council and the former Waveney District Council, the Scott Charity, and Bungay Town Trust, which had made a generous loan.
Martin Evans, committee secretary, was praised for doggedly refusing to give up on the project over the years -despite setbacks - and Michael Davies, a former chairman, was thanked for his continuing support and donations.
She also thanked former county councillor David Ritchie, and the late councillor Simon Woods.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous, town mayor John Adams, and representatives of other organisations that had supported the project over the years, attended the opening, which saw Mrs Dickey cut a celebration cake based on a model of the new centre.