Cotton: Praise for huge village effort to improve hall

Dr Dan Poulter MP attended the event.

Dr Dan Poulter MP attended the event. - Credit: Archant

A community has come together to mark a major restoration of their village hall.

Residents of Cotton, near Stowmarket, met for a cup of tea and cake to celebrate the work made possible with hours of fundraising.

Volunteers clubbed together when the village hall, which dates back to 1922, was vandalised late last year. But the news got worse when the extent of the hall’s poor condition was uncovered when the vandalism damage was examined.

A public meeting held in December to discuss the renovation secured unanimous support for the project.

Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, attended the celebration event. He said the project showed the “very best” of Suffolk communities.

He said: “It was a fantastic effort to raise, with some match funding, £50,000.

“It was great to be there to celebrate in the success in something that will be a lasting legacy for the people in the village.”

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Work to replace decaying timber framed walls, fire doors as well as re-covering the kitchen’s roof were all included.

Bert Bertoloni, project manager, said: “We believe this is a very significant achievement, especially for a village the size of Cotton.

“The timescale from starting fundraising in November 2013 and expected project completion by the end of October 2014 is, we believe, impressive by anyone’s standards.

“We are indebted, of course, to major grant-makers such as Mid Suffolk District Council, Awards for All and the Garfield Weston Foundation, but without support also from The Suffolk Fund, Lord Belstead Charitable Trust, Alfred Williams Charitable Trust, Cotton Parish Council and an extraordinary effort by Cotton’s own residents, we simply could not have contemplated such a programme.”