Saturday, January 26, 2013
A village hall which has served a small north Norfolk community for decades faces closure next month unless a volunteer steps forward.
Ann Beaumont has served as chairman and treasurer of Antingham Village Hall for nearly five years but needs to hand over the reins for family and professional reasons.
Mrs Beaumont has been appealing for a successor for more than a year but without success.
The annual meeting of the hall has been called for Friday February 1 at 7pm and Mrs Beaumont said it would decide the building’s future.
“A lot will depend on what happens at that meeting. I don’t want any more suggestions. I need someone to say ‘I’ll do it’. A lot of people have said: ‘If you can’t find anyone else, I’ll do it’ But when you say ‘I can’t find anyone else’ - they find they can’t do it after all,” she said.
If no-one volunteered, Mrs Beaumont said the hall would have to close and possibly be put up for sale.
The hall had to have a bank account through which bills could be paid and hire fees processed. Without a treasurer - the named cheque signatory - the bank would close the account and the hall would be unable to function.
Although fairly well used, the hall suffered from the disadvantage of being the other side of the A149 by-pass from the main Antingham community. This meant any local children using it had to negotiate a busy, dangerous road.
Many of the users came from outside the village, attracted by one of the cheapest hourly rates, £7, in the area, according to Mrs Beaumont.
User groups included line-dancers, adults with learning difficulties, a carpet bowls club, a flower-arranging group, and bands who booked it for rehearsals.
Easter and Christmas bingo sessions were also popular.
Mrs Beaumont said a mailshot explaining the situation to villagers, organised by the parish council, had been unsuccessful. “I was desperately hoping someone would reply,” she added.
Antingham, near North Walsham, had a population of 287 in the 2001 census. The hall, thought to date from the post-war era, is mostly corrugated iron with a brick-built entrance, up-to-date toilets and a new kitchen, installed two years ago.
● Anyone willing to take on the role should contact Mrs Beaumont at Holmewood, Elderton Lane, Antingham, Norfolk NR28 0NR.