Thursday, 23 September 2021

Celebrations for centenary and makeover

A GALA dinner was held to celebrate the centenary of Remenham parish hall.

A GALA dinner was held to celebrate the centenary of Remenham parish hall.

About 150 villagers attended the black-tie event, which was held in a marquee in the gardens of the hall on Saturday evening.

Guests were greeted by a champagne reception and music by classical guitarist Will Cashell.

Peter Sly, who has chaired the parish hall committee for 15 years, spoke about the history of the hall before the three-course dinner. This was followed by a cabaret from Vocalarity.

Ann Burley, who helped organise the event, said: “It went really well and everybody kept saying what a great atmosphere there was. The hall is the only focal point that we have so it was a really good reason to get the people of the village together.”

The other organisers were Nigel and Jayne Gray and Mr Sly’s wife Pat.

The hall was built in 1913 on land owned by the neighbouring St Nicholas’ Church and donated to the parish by Viscount Hambleden.

It was used as a headquarters for the Home Guard during the Second World War and is often used to accommodate schools’ rowers during the Henley Royal Regatta.

The hall went into a period of decline during the Seventies and Eighties before committee members raised money to refurbish it.

The kitchen was recently remodelled and a small annexe has been built to store chairs and equipment. The hall is a popular venue for wedding receptions and is also used for birthday and anniversary parties.

Mr Sly said: “The hall is the centre of the village and very important as it is extremely well used by local people.”

Meanwhile, the refurbishment of Shiplake memorial hall has been completed. The £460,000 modernisation programme started in February with the building of an extension.

The annexe contains a catering-standard kitchen with direct access to the main hall, new toilets, a foyer and an entrance with disabled access. The second phase of the work, which cost just over £20,000, involved replacing the flat roofs with insulated pitched roofs.

The new facilities will be unveiled at a free relaunch party on October 27 (2pm to 5pm). There will be children’s activities including a treasure hunt, bouncy castle and face-painting as well as free refreshments for adults.

The winners of a time capsule competition, in which entrants were asked to paint a snapshot of life in 2013 for future generations, will also be announced.

The contest was inspired by the discovery of a time capsule from 1926 which was unearthed during the renovation work.

There will also be a prize draw and refreshments will be served.

Bob Noble, chairman of the hall’s modernisation committee, said: “This will give attendees a chance to view the beautiful beamed hall with its stunning new facilities.

“The renovations are due to the kindness of donors and extensive local fund-raising, making the hall a highly desirable venue whatever the occasion.”

The hall in Memorial Avenue was built by the Mardon family in 1925 to commemorate their eldest son Reginald, who died in the First World War.

The refurbishment was funded by £100,000 from Shiplake Parish Council and £100,000 from South Oxfordshire District Council’s Community Investment Fund. The remainder came from sponsorship, private donations and fund-raising events. It took four years to raise the money.

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