Algarkirk residents staying in touch

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Algarkirk’s 400 or so residents may be spread over a large land area dissected by main roads, but they know how to stay in touch.

They have no shop, no pub and even the school is now shared with Sutterton, but when it came to the village hall the locals stood firm.

Mandy Watt (left) and Jean Gibbons with a picture of the village school in front of the building that is now a village hall. SG290813-136TW

Mandy Watt (left) and Jean Gibbons with a picture of the village school in front of the building that is now a village hall. SG290813-136TW

Algarkirk Village Hall Committee chairman Jean Gibbons recalls that dozens of villagers put up a fight to keep the hall when it was under threat in 1977.

Jean, who was on that original committee with her late husband Barry, says those people did a lot of repair work.

She said: “We did no end of things to patch it up because it’s an old stone building. We have just kept it going, but it’s been a struggle some years, and we have had to do a lot of fundraising.”

The committee has been helped more recently by a number of grants.

Village hall committee secretary Mandy Watt says Heritage and Lottery grants have allowed them to repair the crumbling exterior and refurbish the interior of what was once the village school.

Mandy says: “We had an inspection from the Lottery people last year and they couldn’t believe how well we’d kept the building.”

The hall is well used, with Saturday night bingo, parish council meetings, table top and boot sales, harvest and Christmas suppers, private bookings and the Over 65 Club.

The club is organised by Jean, who says between 18 and 20 people from Algarkirk and surrounding villages meet up for “a laugh and natter”, plus tea and biscuits, and there are two outings a year.

Villagers have other ways of keeping in touch, with a regular parish newsletter edited by Mandy, whose husband Andy runs Algarkirk Radio Station.

The year-old internet radio station is online each Saturday and Sunday from noon onwards, and Mandy says they are getting between 500 and 600 listeners.

Mandy says: “It’s a music station with adverts for local businesses, and the parish council pays towards the licence. Because it’s Boston UK we get people in the States and Australia who tune in to find out what’s going on.”

Mandy, who is also on the playing field committee, says: “I brought my kids up here and it’s one of the best places in the country for children because they are safe.”