Craster woman’s £80k bequest for hall refurbishment

Craster Memorial Hall.
Craster Memorial Hall.

A north Northumberland village hall has been refurbished, thanks to a bequest by a former resident.

Alison Newbigin died in April, 2011, at the age of 94.

She was a big part of the Craster Memorial Hall committee and put a lot of work into it when she was alive.

And in a lasting legacy, she has left just under £80,000 to the hall in her will.

The money has been used to refurbish the well-used village venue.

The hall, due to re-open next month, previously had two levels, with a kitchen downstairs and stage upstairs.

Now it has been made into one level, making access easier and with a ramp for the disabled.

A new kitchen has been put in and the hall has been redecorated throughout.

Michael Gibbs, secretary of the Craster Community Trust, which has overseen the project, said: “Alison put her heart and so much effort into the hall in her lifetime that perhaps for her it was natural to donate this money.

“But for the community it is wonderful and we very much appreciate what it has enabled us to do.”

Grants have also been given from CE Electric, now Northern Powergrid, and from Northumberland county councillor John Taylor.

The hall will be a memorial to Alison and a plaque will be uunveiled in tribute to her.

An opening ceremony will be held and members of her family will be invited to celebrate the occasion.

An official opening will be held and the first event set to take place is a production of Best in the World, organised by Highlights Touring Theatre on Saturday, March 23.

The memorial hall was built in 1887 and inaugurated as a men’s reading room in 1889.

It has been at the heart of village life for many years.