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Village hall refurbishment to bring village together

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Fundraising is underway to make Careby Village Hall a vital part of the community again.

Villagers began their efforts last Summer after emptying the building of farmyard machinery after it had stood empty for 50 years.

At the time, as farming became more mechanised, the number of farmworkers in the village dwindled, leading Careby to also lose its village hall, primary school, shop and post office.

Careby Village Hall at the launch of the campaign to raise funds for it. (14848916)
Careby Village Hall at the launch of the campaign to raise funds for it. (14848916)

Following the advice of retired district councillor Martin Wilkins, the villagers registered the hall as a charity and started applying for grants and hosting events.

Barbara Cooper, chairman of the Careby, Aunby and Holywell Village Hall charity, said: “My aim is to bring the church, the village hall and the community together.”

The surrounding villages have just 150 people, but have raised £6,000 themselves from various events. A further £20,000 has come from South Kesteven District Council and £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Renovations include a new kitchen and toilets with disabled access, as previously the toilets were a bucket. It was a lack of toilets that forced the closure of the hall during the 1960s.

Barbara said: “There’s a lot of work to be done but some members of the community are up for it.”

At present, the roof is being fixed, a job due for completion before winter comes.

Projects have been supported with fundraising from Morrisons and Waitrose, with the latest village event being a book sale on Sunday July 28.

Careby Village Hall (14848926)
Careby Village Hall (14848926)

The next fundraising event is a tea party on Sunday September 15.

Barbara is also a local historian who has written about the history of Careby Holywell and Aunby.

She says the village hall was built at the end of the First World War by Lt Col Arthur Acland Hood Reynardson of Holywood Hall for £4,000 on land donated by Charles Creasey, of Careby.

When work started on taking down the hall ceiling on Tuesday, July 30, volunteers found a number of hats, including a straw boater belonging top Grandma Creasey, wife of Charles. Beautiful glass lamps suspended on brass rods and powered by Calor gas were also found in the dusty roof space.

Barbara recalled: “The hall, a potential heritage site, used to be used to be an important place for dances, stage shows, school plays and meetings for the community. Even though it’s in a mess, this hall has a good feel and hopefully its going to take off again.”

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