Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Memorial hall chairwoman steps down after 34 years on committee

THE longest serving member of a village hall committee has stepped down after serving for half

THE longest serving member of a village hall committee has stepped down after serving for half her life.

Rachel Lloyd was co-opted on to Shiplake Memorial Hall’s management committee in 1981, when she was 34, and elected deputy chairwoman in 1991 and chairwoman in 2007.

She decided to retire after turning 68 this year.

Mrs Lloyd, who lives off Reading Road, Shiplake, with her husband David, was thanked for her efforts at the committee’s annual meeting.

Her colleagues presented her with framed photographs of the building, a framed blue plaque bearing her name and a bouquet.

Mr and Mrs Lloyd, who have two children, James, 44, and Bridget, 41, moved to Shiplake from Worcestershire in 1977.

Mrs Lloyd became involved with the hall because the village playgroup which her children attended used the building as it didn’t have its own room and this caused conflict with other community groups.

The playgroup was later given a dedicated space when the Freemasons moved to new premises in Henley Road, Caversham.

More recently, Mrs Lloyd has overseen the £460,000 refurbishment of the hall, including the addition of a new catering kitchen, meeting room and lobby.

The work, which was completed in 2013, was funded through a combination of fund-raising events, grants and donations.

The committee itself provided £100,000 and the same amount came from South Oxfordshire District Council’s Community Investment Fund.

Mrs Lloyd, who also retired as president of Shiplake Women’s Institute this year, said: “I’m proud that I was able to recruit some very able committee members who have helped to transform the building into what it is today. They all want what is best for the hall and are willing to put the effort in.

“It is now a superb local facility whereas beforehand it was badly under-resourced. Now that it has been modernised I thought it was a good time for me to step down.

“By my arithmetic, 34 years is half my lifetime and that’s perhaps more than one should do on a committee. Of course I shall miss all the people.

“At the annual meeting I knew there might be some kind of celebration when lots of people starting coming through the doors as we often don’t get any members of the public.

“The presents were lovely and I was overwhelmed by the gesture. It came as a complete surprise and was very touching.”

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