Joy as Earl Soham community meets £10,000 match fund pledge for hall

Villagers in Earl Soham celebrate raising £10,000 towards the refurbishment of the village hall.

Villagers in Earl Soham celebrate raising £10,000 towards the refurbishment of the village hall.

The Earl Soham community is celebrating this week after raising £10,000 ahead of a deadline for match funding for a village hall revamp.

Villagers in Earl Soham celebrate raising £10,000 towards the refurbishment of the village hall.

Villagers in Earl Soham celebrate raising £10,000 towards the refurbishment of the village hall.

Last April, the Earl Soham community launched the Village Hall Challenge to raise as much as it could to fund improvements to the hall, including to its car park and toilet facilities. An anonymous donor promised to match every penny that had been raised by January 31 – providing it was more than £10,000. In early January, it was revealed that £8,500 had been raised, prompting a final push among residents to raise the remaining cash needed for the match funding.

And on Monday, one of the organisers of the Village Hall Challenge, Jo Rothery, dealt the community the good news that all efforts had been fruitful and a total of £10,963 had been raised within the village for the cause.

Mrs Rothery, who has lived in the village for 46 years, said: “We met the challenge! We made £10,689 plus, there are some other things still to come in. It’s just such a relief.

“I know that the village always pulls its finger out but they did so with a vengeance this time, it was amazing. It was quite a sum to try and raise...there was a possibility that we wouldn’t.


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“People were generous with their time, they were generous with their donations and they were generous with supporting everything.

“It seems to have brought the village together again.

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“Well done everyone, and thank you. We made it!”

Among the fundraisers held within the village since April are a series of tea and coffee mornings, car washes, an elegant picnic and a line dance party.

The biggest fundraisers since the challenge launched were the open gardens, which raised more than £3,000 in the summer months, while a 1930s-themed party to mark the hall’s 80th birthday on December 5 drew in a further £1,800.

The final fundraisers towards the cause took place last month, with a wine tasting evening organised at the home of a local resident raising £1,400.

A number of private donations were also received, including from the Carpet Bowls club and a resident celebrating a birthday, between them boosting the challenge fund by a further £1,000.

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