Sutton-on-the-Hill Village Hall Revival

PUBLISHED: 00:18 14 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:52 20 February 2013

Sutton-on-the-Hill Village Hall Revival

Sutton-on-the-Hill Village Hall Revival

Pictures from the opening of the refurbished Sutton-on-the-Hill village hall

Residents of Sutton-on-the-Hill near Ashbourne celebrated the refurbishment of their village hall which they now own, manage and maintain following some admirable fundraising.

When Suttons C of E Primary School closed in the early 1970s, local people argued that the building should be kept as a village focus. As a result, in 1973 South Derbyshire District Council agreed to purchase the school from the church and it became the village hall, managed by a group of trustees on behalf of the village. Five years ago the District Council offered to sell the hall back to the village. Within three weeks local people had pledged a large proportion of the 20,000 needed and, together with a significant contribution from Gift Aid, they finally purchased it in 2009. However, the interior was rather run down and although the District Council agreed to refurbish the hall room at a cost of 25,000, a further 16,000 was needed for the kitchen and toilets. Fund-raising began again and another extraordinary effort has raised the target sum in just over a year. As trustee and fundraiser Joan Lennard points out: We were fortunate to get a grant of 10,000 from the Awards For All Big Lottery Fund with great support from Eric Clayton of SDDC CVS but the rest of the money came from donations, the villagers own fundraising and with help from residents like solicitor Roger Thomas and curtainmaker Janet Thomas. Other locals helped with painting and other tasks and we have a village hall that has always been valued but now offers a brighter welcome.

The Hall is used for evening classes, as a meeting place for the Womens Institute and local groups like the Bowls Club, and for private events. However, Sutton isnt keeping the Hall to itself: it welcomes users from neighbouring villages like Thurvaston, Longford, Osliston and Church Broughton. And the fundraising goes on: We now need to sort the heating out! says Joan.

Text and photographs by ASHLEY"FRANKLIN

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