Ceremony held to celebrate the start of work on Breckland village’s new community hall

New Community Hall at Thompson hosts turf cutting ceremony. Pictured is Billy Jones and Betty Norris

New Community Hall at Thompson hosts turf cutting ceremony. Pictured is Billy Jones and Betty Norris digging some soil. Photo from Bronwen Taylor - Credit: Bronwen Taylor

After years of hoping for a new community hall the residents of a Breckland village are celebrating as work on the new building is set to start at the end of this month.

New Community Hall at Thompson hosts turf cutting ceremony. Pictured is Billy Jones and Betty Norris

New Community Hall at Thompson hosts turf cutting ceremony. Pictured is Billy Jones and Betty Norris digging some soil. Photo from Bronwen Taylor - Credit: Bronwen Taylor

A turf cutting ceremony was attended by the residents of Thompson, near Watton, as they prepare for builders to start work on the new hall on Monday

One piece of turf was cut by 86-year-old Betty Norris, who runs the village post office and still delivers the papers daily, who has spent the past 62 years trying to raise sufficient funds for a new hall.

The oldest former pupil of Thompson Primary School who still lives in the village, Mrs Norris said that now her dream of a new hall being built has been realised, she might be able to retire.

The youngest pupil at the school, Billy Jones, also cut a piece of turf and the small spade he used will be engraved and hung in the hall.

New Community Hall at Thompson hosts turf cutting ceremony. Pictured is Billy Jones and Betty Norris

New Community Hall at Thompson hosts turf cutting ceremony. Pictured is Billy Jones and Betty Norris digging some soil. Photo from Bronwen Taylor - Credit: Bronwen Taylor

Bronwen Tyler, chairman of the Community Hall Trustees, said: 'It is such an achievement to finally get started.

'We have a village hall which is no longer fit for purpose as it is too small and we don't have any land with it we can expand to.'

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She added: 'It is really exciting. It is a change for the village and we will see what people think when it is built.

'But we will have a facility that will enable the village to hold more things.'

The new building on Millennium Green, off School Road, is estimated to cost in excess of £500,000, and has been funded largely by two legacies from former residents and donations from village fundraising.

It will have two main rooms, one to sit 80 and one to sit 40 which can then be opened as one large hall, a kitchen and a large foyer.

A veranda which will open onto the green which has a play area.

Mrs Tyler added: 'It is wonderful. It will be a lovely venue for a wedding.'

The land the hall will be built on is owned by Thompson Parish Council but has been leased to the trustees on a 999 year peppercorn lease.

It is expected the work will be completed by late autumn.

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