Parish Hall Celebrations – an Appreciation

Parish Hall
Rachel Hunt’s sketch of the Parish Hall for the Centenary Celebrations

What a truly heartwarming celebration it has all been with the Parish Hall as the focus for so many varied activities in the two weeks framing Christmas; events commemorating very many of the ways in which the Hall has been used by the community in the years since its doors were first opened on the sixteenth day of December 1896.

Tremendous appreciation must go to all those who made it possible. Outstandingly, to Jean Millar, whose vision, diligent research, attention to detail over a year’s preparation, underpinned the whole venture, and laid the foundation not only for the fascinating exhibition – imaginatively mounted by Eric Caldwell, – but also for the basis of an archive which will be valuable resource material for future local history writers. Jean’s correspondence over the White Star crockery drew in those with local roots, now far afield, notably the Blake family. Supported by the Centenary Committee, with the invaluable secretarial assistance of Jean Ferrington, and much expenditure of time, Jean managed to fan enthusiasm for the whole project, in so many directions way back in the summer months when many of us were only dimly aware what she was ‘on about’.

Jean, along with all closely involved in organisation, must feel amply rewarded at drawing so many different facets of our community together for such a high standard of wholehearted enjoyment, (many attended by Parish Council Chairman, Adrian Walmsley, and his lady wife). The exhibition ‘Events’ during the last 100 years’ projected us into the next millennium with the Parish Council’s plans for developments to the Hall. Meanwhile we are all grateful for the good humour of Vanessa Smith, its caretaker, whose patient tolerance enabled many to get in and have another look ‘out of hours’. Our wanderings along Tom Threfall’s Serendipity Trail will be cheered by happy memories of the First Centenary celebrations, and challenged by hopes that we shall not have to wait until 2096 for another feast of community talent.