Over 100 people gathered at Hambledon Village Hall on 1st December to mark three key events in the Hall’s history. In 1946 twelve philanthropic residents donated funds towards building a new village hall. By 1947 a Charitable Trust had been established and a plot of land given to the trust for the purpose. The Village Hall Trust was therefore celebrating its 70th birthday! While the old village hall in East Street had been deemed substandard in the early part of the 20th century, it was nevertheless used for over 60 years before enough funds were raised to build the new hall. Work finally started on the current village hall in 1977, 40 years ago – another birthday – although the official opening was not until 1982.
The evening celebration was attended by villagers and people who had been involved in running the village hall over the years. Guest of honour was Mrs. Margaret Day, widow of the late Roger Day, a key figure when the hall was built. A small exhibition about the history of the hall was on display with some old photos that were the topic of much discussion while beautiful background music was provided by Laura Dickson, noted pianist and local resident.
After enjoying refreshments, the gathered crowds were addressed by Janet Harrison, Chair of the Board of Trustees, who said the village owed a significant debt to all those volunteers who have supported and managed the hall since it was built as well as current trustees who all actively help in running it as well as governing its affairs. The trust has also greatly benefitted from legacies and gifts from local people.
Martyn Kille, Chairman of Hambledon Arts Society, spoke about how the village hall is the hub of the community, being used by the many Hambledon clubs and societies, as well as for private hire by locals. Following the speeches, a celebration cake was then cut by Mrs. Day.
The third commemoration of the evening was the completion of the Heating and Energy Efficiency Project (HEEP). This eco-minded initiative has been supported by grants from Hampshire County Council, The Big Lottery Fund, Winchester City Council and Hambledon Parish Council to whom go many thanks. The HEEP project included installation of a new more efficient heating system using an air source heat pump; double glazing and LED lighting. The Meeting Room has been enhanced by a new suspended ceiling, and is available for hire by local groups, small businesses and others, with the benefit of Wi-Fi and boardroom table and chairs.
The hall and tables were decorated by Jo Tester to showcase how it can be used for family celebrations and weddings as well as community use. The premises have been completely refurbished over recent years, and photos and information can be found on the website: www.hambledonhantsvillagehall.weebly.com.
The evening was a great success, and folk reminisced about events at the hall going back over many years.