Northumberland village’s fund-raising effort secures £61k restoration

The celebration event at Boulmer Memorial Hall.
The celebration event at Boulmer Memorial Hall.

One of the finishing touches – a new sign – is set to go up on a revamped memorial hall in a north Northumberland village after a £61,000 fund-raising drive.

The art-deco sign, a copy of the design found on a set of tableware, probably commissioned at the time of the fitting out of the First World War barrack hut as a village hall for Boulmer in 1920, will soon be in place over the door.

The new sign for Boulmer Memorial Hall.

The new sign for Boulmer Memorial Hall.

This link between the past and present neatly reflects the spirit of the restoration project, which has certainly seen the community step up to the plate and 12 generous funders respond to the call for assistance.

The £55,000 needed was raised in eight months and another £6,000 was donated to provide a new kitchen, as volunteers came forward to cater for the increased number of visitors.

Sandra Branley, a member of the group organising fund-raising events at the hall this year, said: “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of the team.

“I particularly enjoyed my role in putting together a lovely group of crafters, most of whom started this journey with us last Christmas.

“One of our first crafters came a year ago, not long before her baby was born, and we’ve watched that baby grow over the past year, providing us with a nice distraction when we need a five-minute break.

“It’s a joy when the hall is filled with such a happy and friendly atmosphere.”

Interest in this rare, historic building, which started life as a barrack hut in Berwick a century ago, has begun to grow and bookings are now being taken for next year.

An exhibition of Boulmer’s stories and pictures, demonstrating the rich heritage of this coastal village, is now in preparation with professional advice.

Anyone interested in seeing the new-look Boulmer Memorial Hall can attend on Saturday for a craft fair between 10am and 3pm.

Donations were given by Longhoughton Parish Council; Northumberland County Council; Bernard Sunley Foundation; Howick Heritage Group; Big Lottery Awards for All; Community Foundation; Garfield Weston; Sir James Knott Trust; Northumberland AONB Partnership; Coun Kate Cairns’ small schemes allowance; The Joicey Trust and a local charitable trust.