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Thornham's new village hall 'will be for all the community'

PUBLISHED: 09:39 25 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:39 25 June 2013

Outside the nearly complete Thornham Village Hall are site manager Steve Reeve and chairman of the trustees John Warham. Picture: Ian Burt

Outside the nearly complete Thornham Village Hall are site manager Steve Reeve and chairman of the trustees John Warham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

A topping out ceremony was held to mark the completion of Thornham's landmark new village hall and sports pavilion.

Villagers have been fundraising for a new building to replace the old Drill Hall after they gained a six-acre site for the benefit of the community.

They formed their own company, Thornham Village and Playing Field Ltd, to help bring about new facilities but quickly realised they needed to replace the dated Drill Hall, which had served the area for a century.

Having already installed a multi-use games area, they set about raising the money by selling the old site to pay for the facility.

They were then given a £475,910 Lottery grant to add to cash they had already raised in fundraising, meaning work could start on the £640,000 project earlier this year.

John Warham, chairman of Thornham Village and Playing Field Ltd, said: “The Drill Hall was about 100 years old and was really getting past its sell-by date.

“We had a fantastic site in a superb location, so it was a real opportunity to put everything together for the community.”

The new building, which is due to be unveiled to the public on Saturday, September 21, once work to the inside of the building has been finished, boasts a hall which can cater for 150 people as well as a meeting room.

There are then changing rooms for the coastal village’s cricket and football teams.

Mr Warham added: “We have a mixed community here. We have a lot of second home owners and caravanners, as well as people who have been here for a long time.

“This is an opportunity for people to get together and make it work for the whole community.

“We hope to involve a lot more people.”

Despite the modern new building, Thornham’s residents are keen not to forget the old Drill Hall which served them so well for so long.

As well as an opening ceremony for the new hall and sports pavilion in September, there will be a farewell event at the Drill Hall before villagers make their way to the new building where they will spend many hours in the future.

When the village was awarded the Lottery grant for the project last year, grant co-ordinator Colin Venes said: “It’s like winning and Olympic gold medal.

“We worked hard for three years and it’s a great result.”

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