War hero Duncan Slater to open revamped Diss Corn Hall

Duncan Slater who was injured in Afghanistan whilst serving with the Armed Forces. Picture: SONYA DU

Duncan Slater who was injured in Afghanistan whilst serving with the Armed Forces. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Archant Norfolk

An inspirational war veteran who lost both his legs in Afghanistan is to open Diss' new Corn Hall.

Diss Corn Hall. Picture: LUCY KAYNE

Diss Corn Hall. Picture: LUCY KAYNE - Credit: Archant

Sgt Duncan Slater, who lives in nearby Scole, was badly injured when hit by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan in 2009.

Since then, the veteran - who has two prosthetic legs after they were both amputated below the knee - has become an inspiration to people across the country by taking on challenges such as the London Marathon and, most recently, the Marathon des Stables.

Sgt Slater will join Diss mayor Mike Bardwell in reopening the historic arts venue on Friday, May 5 after its £1.8m renovation as part of a wider scheme to revamp Diss' historic Heritage Triangle.

Sgt Slater said: 'Being asked to open the Diss Corn Hall is a real honour.

Diss Corn Hall before the refurbishment. Picture: BILL SMITH

Diss Corn Hall before the refurbishment. Picture: BILL SMITH - Credit: Archant � 2011


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'It was a real shock to be asked to open such an iconic building. This is a real privilege.'

Diss Corn Hall has been closed for two years for a series of improvements to modernise the Grade II Listed building, which was at risk of serious water damage and needed a major upgrade to its facilties.

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It is hoped the renovated 162-year-old building will bring in new audiences by being accessible in the daytime, as well as for evening events.

Angela Sykes, director of the Corn Hall, said: 'The finished result is even better than we could have hoped for and, now that we'll be open all day, we want everyone to come in and take advantage of all the new facilities on offer.'

Diss Corn Hall refurbishments pictured on March 17. Picture: LUCY KAYNE

Diss Corn Hall refurbishments pictured on March 17. Picture: LUCY KAYNE - Credit: Archant

The main improvements include an extension housing the new entrance, box office, foyer, gallery, bar and cafe.

There will also be a new cafe open daily, along with a new bar run by Grain Brewery.

Mr Bardwell said: 'We are thrilled that Duncan Slater has agreed to open the Corn Hall with us.

'Duncan is an inspirational figure not only for Diss and Scole but for the wider South Norfolk area.

Diss Corn Hall refurbishments pictured on March 17. Picture: LUCY KAYNE

Diss Corn Hall refurbishments pictured on March 17. Picture: LUCY KAYNE - Credit: Archant

'His active participation with local veterans associations and in particular disabled groups is highly commendable. He is a role model for citizens of all ages in inspiring everyone to challenge themselves to achieve the impossible.'

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