Late in 2005, a joint meeting of the Parish Council, Village Hall Management Committee and Memorial Ground Trust agreed to set up a working group with three representatives from each party, with the object of having exploratory talks regarding a Community Building on the Memorial Ground (a project that had already been talked about for several years even before that time). During the course of 2006 this team met on regular occasions and made a formal presentation to the village to accept the proposal:
“Does the village support the attempt to develop a project for a single community building, providing both village hall and pavilion facilities, to be located on the memorial ground and the necessary changes to the two charities involved to allow this to happen effectively”.
In April 2006 this was accepted by the village with a huge majority vote.
However, despite some very dedicated work from those involved it took a long time to reach a stage where all parties were content with the broad arrangements that needed to be put in place, funds were earmarked, buildings designed, plans approved, and so on.
Fast-forward to 2012, and at a village meeting on 20th March an overwhelming number of those voting approved the then-current Steering Committee's proposals and gave the go-ahead for proceeding to actual construction, with a possibility of actually breaking ground in the autumn.
Work did indeed start that autumn, with demolition of the old pavilion and site clearing following soon afterwards.
Concrete footings were poured in April of 2013, after which, despite the inevitable few hiccups, building proceeded steadily. Meanwhile, the old Village Hall Management Committee and the Memorial Ground Trust had merged into a single new Memorial Trust, to be responsible for the administration of the whole Memorial Ground and everything within it, including—of course—the new Memorial Centre.
October 2013 saw the demoliiton of the much-loved old Village Hall, after the sale of the land it stood on had raised a large proportion of the cost of building the Memorial Centre. By the end of November the Centre had its roof on, enabling the contractors to speed ahead with fitting out the interior; and by the end of January 2014 the Centre was open for business and the first function had been held there. Its formal opening ceremony was performed on 3rd June 2014, by HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.
Of course this is a hopelessly inadequate and brief summary. In reality it was a long and much more complicated story, wich plenty of twists and turns. (Some of the early history can be seen by clicking here.) But because of the work of many people over many years, and because residents finally agreed on what they wanted, back in 2012, the village has a modern community centre we can all be proud of. Many thanks to all those who contributed.