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Fanfare for opening of new village hall

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THE new village hall in Berryfield is now officially open to the public, following an open day that took place on Saturday 21st January.

Members of the community, parish council and local government attended for a tour of the facility, refreshments and children’s activities, whilst there was a performance by a string quartet to celebrate the event.

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, air vice-marshal David Couzens, officially cut the ribbon to the hall saying, “The new village hall is a great way of bringing all the various communities in Berryfield, the mobile home park and along Semington Road all together in one brand new state-of-the-art facility. With solar panels, under-floor heating, excellent insulation, it’s a real change from the old draughty portacabin hall that was the community facility in previous years.”

Chairman of Melksham Without Parish Council, cllr David Glover said, “I should just like to say a hearty thank you to all the professionals who helped with the design and build of this long sought- after facility. Funding of some £880k has come from Bellway, Taylor Wimpey and David Wilson as part of the legislative requirements in approving their current and future builds at Berryfield and Bowerhill. The centre is run by residents, with the support of Melksham Without Parish Council.

Parish cllr Richard Wood said, “The old hall, the portacabin, that was knocked down in early December last year was bought on Ebay in 2005. It was small and beginning to deteriorate but there are happy memories of events and activities there. The art and craft club are still going strong and are already using the new hall and created the knitted bunting, and are running children’s activities here. Thanks to the members of the Berryfield and Semington Road Action Group who have been involved for years and have helped getting the hall up and running; Steve Petty, Gill Arbery, and Sue and Jim Whyborn.”

MP Michelle Donelan, who attended the event said, “The opening of the new Berryfield Village Hall was such a lovely community celebration, packed with welcoming locals, tea, coffee and cake provided by Melksham businesses and kind donors. The atmosphere was wonderful, with music from strings! A fitting celebration of the hard work and tenacity of all involved in the planning, building, wall art and opening of such a brilliant new community hub.”

The exterior of the centre includes a canal-shaped mural created by UK artist, Kerry Lemon, who worked with children from Aloeric Primary School to create drawings of symbols, animals and wildlife relevant to the area.

Kerry, who was unable to attend the opening said, “I truly hope that this artwork brings you all happiness for many years to come.”

Melksham Without Parish Council chairman, cllr David Glover, gave particular thanks to the following people, saying, “It is thanks to: Arthur Williams, the original project manager; David Sharp, architect; Martin Pickard, quantity surveyor; Rigg Construction including Phil Rigg, Jon Price and Keith Owen, and their local sub-contractors including; AL King, Gerrish’s Melksham Mini Mix, amongst others, that no costs fell to the parish council and council taxpayers. This was achieved, despite hiccups along the way.

Some overcome by the intervention of Andy Thompson, highway officer of Wiltshire Council. “Finally, nothing would have been achieved without the leadership of Teresa, the financial oversight by Marianne and the efforts of the council working party of councillors Richard Wood, David Pafford, Mark Harris, Shona Holt and Stefano Patacchiola.”

The village hall is now open to various groups from mother and toddler sessions to fitness classes, giving residents of the older and newer Berryfield estates a chance to join.

For more information about classes and events in the hall or to use the space, contact Melksham Without Parish Council via, 01225 705700.

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