Fresh start for Memorial Hall as new committee takes charge of its future

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The outlook appears brighter for Whaplode St Catherine Memorial Hall after a new management committee was chosen to safeguard its future.

A group of villagers, including Spalding Flower Queen Inca Honnor, have taken on the task of turning around the seventy-year-old hall’s fortunes which looked doomed a month ago.

Trustees voted to close the hall at the end of June, blaming their decision on a lack of usage by villagers and spiralling repair costs.

But at a meeting on Wednesday, a new committee of trustees was elected to manage the hall and lift the cloud hanging over its future.

David Blaxter, one of the new trustees, said: “I’m a fairly new arrival to the village but having read stories about the hall in the newspaper, I went along to the meeting not necessarily with a view to getting involved but to see there was fair play.

“However, it was obvious that the outgoing committee had made its decision to close the hall unless anyone wanted to take it on.

“I’m a semi-retired chartered accountant so I thought I’d throw my lot in being experienced in looking after money.”

The new committee faces several major challenges, including a roof that urgently need repairs and an annual income against expenses deficit of about £1,200.

Former management committee chairman Ray Rye said: “We’re pleased there’s another committee in place to carry but obviously there’s a lot of work to be done to get themselves established.

“We hope they get on well because, in my opinion, a change of committee could be what the hall needs.”

Coun Malcolm Chandler, district and parish councillor for Whaplode, said: “I think it’s positive news that there are some people who look eminently suitable to be on the new management committee and with support from the village, it has to be a major step forward.”