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New village hall opens

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:36 01 August 2010

AFTER many years of planning and two-and-half years of building, Mendham and Witherdale's new village hall was officially opened on Saturday by Rebecca Knight of the OperaBabes.

AFTER many years of planning and two-and-half years of building, Mendham and Witherdale's new village hall was officially opened on Saturday by Rebecca Knight of the OperaBabes.

During the ceremony Tony Fox, treasurer and project manager thanked the various charities and benefactors, who had provided money, materials or muscle to get the project off the ground.

Rebecca cut the yellow ribbon in front of 130 guests from both villages and a couple of funders and following a blessing by the Rev Susan Loxton, guests enjoyed a buffet lunch, a poem, written by the children of Mendham School and singing from All Saints Choir at Mendham Church.

A framed copy of the poem was presented to the hall committee and will be displayed in the hall.

The project begun in 1998 to replace the old Village Hall in Withersdale Street with a state-of-the-art building.

The old hall was a first world war barracks hut, in use since the 1920s, but no longer providing the facilities needed by a 21st century village community.

Fund-raising for purchase of the land started, and with help from many inhabitants and all the organisations in the villages the plot and playing field were secured just after the millennium.

The village hall committee was formed and construction began in March 2006, with the creation of the new gateway and car park. It finally opened for business in November.

Costing more than £250,000 to construct, it has been widely supported by grants from Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, Suffolk Environmental Trust and the Suffolk Foundation, as well as a number of national and local funders, including Persimmon Homes and Bernard Matthews.

Local residents also gave support through personal donations.

Usage has been steadily growing, with village coffee mornings, ladies' keep fit classes run by Millie Dobie and the local table tennis team all occupying regular slots.

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