The Village Hall Open Day....

Mrs Shirley Brasher, John Mann MP, Mayor of Retford, Cllr Ken Bullivant and members of Village Hall Committee

Saturday 24th March 2007 was the official Opening Day for the newly extended and modernised Village Hall. Refurbishments included showers and changing rooms, modern enlarged kitchen and playgroup building. Grants were obtained from The Big Lottery, Wren, Biffa, Hanson Environment and Garfield Weston Charitable Trust. Donations had been received from Nottinghamshire County Council, Bassetlaw District Council, Beckingham cum Saundby Parish Council, Bland Burgess and Hethershaw, North Notts Lions, village residents and numerous fund raising events.
Mrs Shirley Brasher (nee Bloomer), the niece of Miss Nora Watson, kindly accepted an invitation to perform the Opening Ceremony, travelling from London to do so. In 1948, Miss Nora Watson donated the playing field on which the Hall now stands and obtained the Village Hall from Nottinghamshire Social Services. The Watson family, who owned Beckingham Shipyard, were major benefactors to the village. Shirley used to play tennis in the garden of Orchard House, whilst staying with the Watsons as a child during the 2nd World War. She went on to become British and European No. 1 tennis player and married Chris Brasher who was one of the first four minute milers, co-founder of the London Marathon and the 1956 Melbourne Olympics Steeplechase Gold Medallist.
Local clubs and organisations were invited to set up displays of their work in the Hall for the Open Day, these were many and varied. The Parish Council display included the Willow Works renovations, the Spinney improvements, information on Neighbourhood Watch, the Cycle Track, details of the village website and the progress of the Parish Plan. The Local History Group had many photos and documents reflecting the history of Beckingham and Saundby, including a photo of Mrs Brasher as a child in the garden of Orchard House. The RSPB had a display showing details of the proposed Beckingham Marshes.

Village Hall Display
There were exhibits by the Beckingham Institute with information on its facilities, which are open to all over 10yrs of age and the Bowls Club with its history and activities. The newly formed Gardening Club had a very colourful display with items donated by R & G Gardening Centre in Saundby. All St.Church showed details of their planned extension and funding obtained, along with other information about the church.
Parish Council Display

There was an exhibit by the Methodist Chapel, which sadly, may be lost to the village as it may soon be closing. The Friendship Group, who are celebrating their 15th Anniversary this year, had their new Favourite Recipes with useful hints book available on their stall. Other displays included the Primary School, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and the Youth Club showing their activities and achievements. Last but not least, the Village Halls exhibit showed details of their recent refurbishments and some history of the hall.

The Opening Ceremony was from 12.30 to 2pm and invited guests included John Mann MP, the Mayor of Retford, Nottinghamshire County Councillor and District Councillor Ken Bullivant, all display holders and some residents of the Parish from the very early days of the Hall. Village Hall Chair Joan Sangar welcomed all and paid tribute to the sponsors and the hard work of everyone involved in the renovations.
Mrs Shirley Brasher presenting cheque
Mrs Shirley Brasher congratulated the community on its achievements and recalled fond memories of her stay in the village and of her Aunt, Miss Nora, as the residents knew her. She then presented a cheque of 1,000 to the Village Hall Committee, from the Chris Brasher Trust Fund, before unveiling the Commemorative Plaque. An excellent light buffet followed with tea and coffee, which was available throughout the day.
Renewing acquaintances
Enjoying the refreshments

The Hall was opened up to all the Parish community in the afternoon who were invited to come and view the displays and inspect the improvements for themselves. It was very well attended, an enjoyable time had by all, particularly those sharing memories with old acquaintances. The day ended with a Celebration Disco in the evening, enjoyed by the younger members of the community.
Thanks must go to all those who organised the days events and who were involved in any way, particularly Nev Hethershaw who worked tirelessly on grant applications and for many months supervised the ongoing work of contractors. The modernised Village Hall has been achieved through much hard work and is a valuable amenity to the residents of Beckingham cum Saundby. Keep a look out for the new ventures and ideas planned for its use, it needs your support!

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