Three Holes village hall committee launches fund appeal after arson and theft insurance shortfall
Committee borrows �15,000 to upgrade security at hall near Wisbech
A Fenland village hall committee is appealing for help after a theft and arson attack left it having to borrow thousands of pounds to meet insurance company requirements.
Committee members of Three Holes hall, near Wisbech, have had to install high-specification security features which the insurers wanted after the hall was broken into and set alight earlier this year.
The cost of the new features, including CCTV and reinforced doors and windows, was not met by the insurance company and now fund raisers will have to make up the difference and repay the �15,000 loan.
The committee also lost around �9,000 in hiring revenue during the months the hall was out of action and events, including wedding receptions, meetings and auctions, had to relocate.
A final claim for �180,000 was submitted to insurers following the incident and the hall is due to be officially re-opened by SW Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss at 2pm on Saturday, November 26.
Committee secretary Rita Cuss said the fire had been a disaster because the hall had recently had a maple floor restored and it had been ruined.
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'The dancing groups loved the floor and we didn't think the fire had damaged it, but it had. We have had to have it replaced with an oak floor all the way through,' she said.
'There were a lot of disappointed people because we had to cancel everything, wedding receptions, family parties - all of it,' she added.
Mrs Cuss, who celebrates her 80th birthday with the re-opening, said it had been a difficult few months for the hall committee and members are hoping all the groups which previously used the facilities would return.
'Everything is new; the kitchen, floor, the roof on the extension - it does look nice but it's been quite a time,' said Mrs Cuss.
The hall was broken into in April and two cookers were stolen - but it was also set fire to and the damage was extensive.
Bookings have already been coming in for next year and a number of organisations in the village will be returning to the hall, but the committee needs to raise cash and plans fund raising events over the coming months.
'We will be appealing to individuals and businesses to help,' said Mrs Cuss.
The hall's first event will be this Saturday when musician Kenny Rich will be on stage from 8pm. Tickets are �7, including food, and can be bought on the door.
If anyone able to offer support or would like more information about the re-opening contact Mrs Cuss on 01945 772236.