RAF Coltishall hall is flying again

For twin brothers Kyle and Dane Corby, it played a key part in their formative years as they were growing up on the base at RAF Coltishall.

The old church hall – built originally as a church in 1940 and attended by wartime flying aces – was the place they went to for parties as well as Cubs and Scouts meetings.

So they were upset when the hall closed in 2006 and was left as an empty shell by the departing RAF.

Kyle recalled: 'It soon had tree branches growing out of the gutters, the hedge out the front went wild, there was spray paint on the door and a smashed window out the back.'

The 24-year olds – whose father, Danny, a flight sergeant, is currently on a tour in Afghanistan – remembered the sense of sadness of being the last RAF family on the base and resolved to make sure at least part of RAF Coltishall was preserved.

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So when the hall came up for auction in London in May 2010 they decided to bid for it using their own savings.

Success at the auction was just the start of months of hard work for the brothers, both local prison officers, who estimate they have spent more than �20,000 on their project.

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Kyle and Dane, who now live in Hautbois Road in the renamed community of Badersfield – which they still call RAF Coltishall – said every spare hour has been spent on painting and decorating, helped by their father, grandfather Tony Burden and childhood friend Luke Hutchings.

Kyle said: 'We were up here most weekends. Every square metre we had to prepare with filler before we could paint.'

The brothers are part of a four-piece rock band, Tearaway, and use the hall to rehearse for gigs.

Dane said: 'Our next plan is to build a small music studio at one end of the hall for other bands to use as well.'

The hall's grand reopening last August attracted more than 400 people and the brothers were heartened by the response.

Kyle said: 'The Spirit of Coltishall Association came along and presented us with the original Battle of Britain Memorial Hall sign for us to put back.'

They have since attracted a healthy number of party bookings and regular groups using the hall, including a Zumba class.

Dane said: 'This is now a very young community and we hope there will be a demand to bring back Cubs and Scouts and attract other classes such as Weightwatchers.'

He said the district council had agreed to make it the election polling station for the Scottow area.

Kyle said: 'We feel more like caretakers than owners. We just wanted to keep part of RAF Coltishall alive.'

They hoped it would help to reinvigorate a community that once had every kind of amenity, from a swimming pool to a nightclub.

He said: 'The village hall has always been the hub of a community and that is what we feel about this place.'

Anyone interested in booking the hall is invited to email battleofbritainhall@hotmail.co.uk

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