July 29 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, June 14, 2014
When John Keeble’s father, Pat, died in 1982, he was initially unsure about taking over as chairman of the Theberton and Eastbridge village hall management committee.
But it is a role he has since embraced devotedly, overseeing its major refurbishment and helping to establish it as a centre of the community.
His father was influential in helping to raise the money for, and securing the purchase of the hall in the late 70s.
After Mr Keeble took on the role of chairman, he developed a passion for volunteering in the local community. The hall is now in demand from groups and organisations, holding regular Duke of Edinburgh training, dog classes and needlework groups. He helped secure a grant for refurbishment work in the last two years, and another more recently for further improvements.
Mr Keeble, 63, of Eastbridge, said: “I’m absolutely delighted - and quite shocked - to receive the award. I didn’t think I’d ever receive anything like this.
“It makes you wonder if you deserve it - but somebody must have believed I did.
“I feel that this award is dedicated as much to my father and the community as it to me. So many communities are losing their pubs, village halls, and even their churches. If you can retain them, as we have, I think you are setting a good example.”
Mr Keeble can sometimes be seen with his vintage Wolseley County motorcar at events like the Westleton Barrel Fair.
As well as village hall management committee chairman, he is a trustee of the East Coast Sail Trust, which funds cruises for children on board the Thames sailing barge Thalatta. He is a keen supporter of local fundraising events and is also a trustee and director of the Leiston Works Railway project to revive the dismantled line that transported materials and goods for Richard Garrett and Sons.