New lease of life for hall, thanks to community

The team behind the renovation of the  Memorial Hall at Boulmer.
Picture by Jane Coltman

The team behind the renovation of the Memorial Hall at Boulmer. Picture by Jane Coltman

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Villagers in Boulmer are ready to rededicate their memorial hall following a major revamp which has given the building a new lease of life.

As previously reported by the Gazette, prior to the launch of the community fund-raising effort, the building – a former First World War barracks hut – was not in a great condition and was hardly used.

The barrack huts in place at Berwick.

The barrack huts in place at Berwick.

Now, as these pictures show, it is a bright, welcoming and well-equipped building, which hosts coffee mornings and craft fairs as well as attracting bookings for all manner of family occasions, from Christenings to diamond wedding anniversaries.

Sonia Stephenson, whose crab sandwiches attract people from far and wide to the hall, said: “It has brought the village together and it’s more like the heart of the village again.”

A public meeting in October 2014 gave birth to the project to renovate the hall, which was enthusiastically received by residents, and the fund-raising kicked off at Christmas and in early 2015.

By late last year, the target had been reached and more than £60,000 raised, but the refurbishment had started in earnest in about April 2015, with some work to the foundations taking place even earlier than that.

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer.
Picture by Jane Coltman

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer. Picture by Jane Coltman

Various people helped out along the way, including some RAF Boulmer servicemen assisting with the heavy work.

Keith Allan, who acted as project manager for the overhaul, said that the outside work such as the cladding, insulation and foundations were completed last year, but the finishing touches, such as decoration of the toilets, has only been finished recently.

“I think it’s worked out well considering the budget,” added Keith, who came up with the idea of using air-to-air source pumps to provide heating for the venue.

Next weekend, a dedication of the refurbished building will take place, to which all villagers are invited, which will also act as a thank-you to the village and those involved in the project.

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer.
Picture by Jane Coltman

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer. Picture by Jane Coltman

Fittingly, given the hall’s origins as a barracks hut in Berwick during the Great War, the event falls during the centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme and local children will replace two plaques, remembering Boulmer’s fallen from both wars, on the wall.

There will be a service led by the vicar, with readings, songs from Howick Coastal Choir and the presentation of a poppy donated to the village from the Tower of London artwork.

The opening of Boulmer Memorial Hall.

The opening of Boulmer Memorial Hall.

A thick layer of installation was installed before the new cladding was put in place.

A thick layer of installation was installed before the new cladding was put in place.

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer.
Picture by Jane Coltman

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer. Picture by Jane Coltman

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer.
Picture by Jane Coltman

The renovated Memorial Hall at Boulmer. Picture by Jane Coltman