Festival fund gives boost to Public Hall project

Members of the Beccles Festival present a cheque for over £3000 to the Beccles Public Hall to instal

Members of the Beccles Festival present a cheque for over £3000 to the Beccles Public Hall to install new railings on the balcony.Left to right. Barry Martin ( designer), Eunice Simpkins, Ray Simmons, Jerry Garcia (public hall) and Bridget Truman. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The ongoing refurbishment project at Beccles Public Hall was given a boost this week following a £3,000 donation from the Beccles Festival of Music and the Arts.

Representatives from the festival presented the cheque to managers of the Public Hall on Monday, following an announcement last week that the festival would be coming to an end after seven years of events in the town.

The committee decided to call it a day due to a fall in audience numbers and a new format meaning more work for the small team.

Chairman Eunice Simpkins said the committee behind the festival wanted to donate their residual funds to another charitable organisation with similar aims. She said: “It is with regret that after seven years organisers have decided to wind down Beccles Festival. Despite the disappointment, the committee is pleased to announce that the festival’s outstanding funds have been donated to Beccles Public Hall, thus making an ongoing contribution to Beccles’ thriving arts scene.”

During the summer the hall will be closed for six weeks while building work is carried out on the balcony and foyer, as part of phase two of the project. The management team have commissioned a design for a new balcony frontage from Barry Martin of MartinCraft in Beccles, and the intention is to install something approaching the look of the 1780 original.

Hall director Terry Dentith said: “We are delighted that they chose the Public Hall to receive the money. It will pay for the making of the front of the balcony, and some towards the installation.

“We decided that instead of putting the money into the pot we wanted to use it for a particular project so the committee could identify what they have paid for.”

Most Read

The Beccles Festival of Music and the Arts was founded by the Rev John Beauchamp in 2007 and over the years has attracted first rate names from the musical world including the London Mozart Players and the Choir of King’s College Cambridge.

Ms Simpkins added: “It is gratifying to see the financial results of the last festival helping to support an arts and entertainment venue in Beccles and, in particular, for a project using local craftsmen.”

The Public Hall will be closing on August 10 for the work to begin. Anyone who would like to volunteer to help with the removal of the old balcony from July 6, can call Mr Dentith on 01502 716590 or the hall on 770060.