MORE than 170 people gathered at a Mayford community centre to celebrate its official re-opening on Sunday, including Woking MP Jonathan Lord.
In November 2012 a massive blaze gutted Mayford Village Hall in what is believed to have been a mindless arson attack. Luckily no one was hurt but the culprits were never caught.
Now, thanks to the hard work of the 11 trustees – and with help from the insurance company, Hart Construction, and the architects – the privately owned hall has been redesigned, rebuilt and revamped, and is
bigger and better than ever.
Local businessman and resident Bob Smith cut the ribbon to kick-off proceedings, while Chairman Paul Atkins gave thanks to everyone who helped make it all possible.
Trustee Secretary Alan Briggs said: “We are 100 per cent up and running – it’s like a phoenix risen from the ashes.
“We now have a middle hall, making three, and a fully furnished meeting room.
“We have a list of what we still need and, on Sunday, many people pledged money to help with things like landscaping, tarmac resurfacing and furniture.”
A mural, created by Adrian Beach some 67 years ago that was damaged in the blaze has now been painstakingly resurrected by Allan Munday and hangs proudly in the new meeting room.
The original timber hall and surrounding land on Saunders Lane was given to the village in 1947 by the Marquess of Bristol. Intended as only a temporary building, it had been in constant use by a nursery, clubs, groups and societies, and hired out for various private parties and functions, until the blaze 18 months ago.
Although the running costs are just under £500 per week and the insurance has increased by 40 per cent, the trustees’ aim is not to raise the hire rate but to increase occupancy.
Alan said: “Three new clubs have already signed up and several more are interested.”
After spending the £349,000 from the insurance payout, the hall is now valued at £650,000.
Mr Lord said: “It was wonderful to be at the re-opening of Mayford Village Hall. It looks fantastic. I congratulate the trustees and everyone else concerned on this terrific new centre. It will serve the village and many community groups for decades to come.”
There are additional plans to install CCTV and a summer celebration is planned for July 6.
Visit www.mayfordvillagehall.org.uk or call 0845 5199034 for more information or to make a booking.