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Triumph of reopening of village halls

PUBLISHED: 05:35 10 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

THE reopening of three village halls was a triumph for communities near Ipswich who raised more than £500,000 to upgrade their facilities.

Residents in Nacton, Playford and Sutton gathered at the weekend for official ceremonies to mark the completion of modernised halls and to thank numerous organisations and villagers for their financial support.

THE reopening of three village halls was a triumph for communities near Ipswich who raised more than £500,000 to upgrade their facilities.

Residents in Nacton, Playford and Sutton gathered at the weekend for official ceremonies to mark the completion of modernised halls and to thank numerous organisations and villagers for their financial support.

Lord Marlesford, president of Suffolk Action for Communities in Rural England, reopened Nacton village hall where the hall's capacity has been increased, there are new toilets, a room for the playgroup and mother and toddlers group, a new floor and roof.

The management committee paid tribute to the enthusiasm and support from the village and a spokesman said: ''We now have a village hall that is finished to a very high standard, will last for at least another 80 years and is one of the smartest and friendliest halls in the county.''

The Community Fund of the National Lottery gave substantial donations to Nacton and Playford, and in Playford a time capsule was placed in the original but now sealed off chimney. Jill Ganzoni, of Playford, opened the extended village hall. The hall was first opened as a parish reading room in 1896 and some of the original books still remain.

There is a hall and two meeting rooms and future plans include a portable stage. David Heard, chairman of the hall trustees, said: ''The new village hall has been a great example of a community working together for the best possible outcome. There have been so many people involved in this project and to see it completed has made it worthwhile for everyone.''

Sutton Memorial Hall opened in 1958 and was largely built by volunteer labour from Sutton on land donated by Russell Paul. It cost £4,500 to build and equip and took four years.

The refurbishment included new tables, chairs and curtains, a disabled toilet, new urinals, new flooring in the toilets and a communicating door fitted between the doctor's room and waiting room. The largest donation, of £12,069, came from the East of England Development Agency.

Andrew Paul, management committee chairman, said: ''I am delighted that the village now has a hall to be proud of. We hope that the improved facilities will increase usage of the hall for the benefit of the local community.''

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk


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