Photo Gallery: Radiant in red - Queen gets a warm welcome to village
13:49 28 January 2014
Archant © 2014
Cheering crowds greet the Queen as she opens new village hall at Thornham today.
The Queen spent almost an hour touring the new £650,000 building, next to the A149 coast road.
“Her Majesty really enjoyed the visit,” said John Warham, chair of Thornham Village Hall and Playing Field Ltd, who showed the Queen around the hall.
“She saw a display showing what has happened over the last seven years, starting with when the field was growing turnips and finally the development of the hall.
“She spoke to some of the older residents and she spent some time with the BagLadies of Thornham, who over the last six or seven years have raised £30,000 for village projects.”
The Queen left with a bag presented by the BagLadies, who make bags and other items to sell by “upcycling” unwanted fabric and other materials.
“We were absolutely delighted that her majesty agreed to come and open the hall and it was a privilege for the village,” said Colin Venes, chair of the Thornham Village Hall Committee.
“She spoke to so many people in the hall, she spoke to some of the elderly residents, she engaged with the children, it was an abosolute delight.”
Melanie Venes, from the BagLadies, said the Queen was very taken with the green recycled bag the group gave her.
“We started with a church fete in 2006 and did some bags, it’s just grown from there,” she said. “It’s a good way to make money from nothing. People turn out their cupboards and drawers, they turn out their buitton tins and their sewing baskets.
“We’ve had an incredible year, we’ve raised over £6,000 in 12 months.”
Villagers spent four years raising funds for a new hall to replace Thornham’s aging Drill Hall on the Ringstead Road.
They were awarded a £475,000 lottery grant, along with contributions from local councils, towards the cost of the building.
It offers a function room/venue for up to 250 people, meeting room, wifi, kitchen, and changing rooms for the village football and cricket teams.
Activities include a soup club for elderly people in and around the village, while the village heritage society will be staging an exhibition of photographs of Thornham in the hall next month.