Village fundraisers turn eyes on hall

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It may be a small community but it has a big heart. After raising more than £80,000 to stave off the closure of their church, people in the riverside village of Paull have now turned their attentions to the village hall.

Fresh from their success in raising money for St Andrew Church, locals have embarked on an ambitious 350,000 programme for the new community centre.

Last night villagers got a surprise when they were told there was already at least 30,000 in the kitty – from money left over from a project which never got off the ground. The village hall committee has raised another 5,500 itself.

The plans for the new hall feature an upstairs viewing gallery with views over the Humber, as well as public toilets, an administrative office for the parish clerk, and possibly an annexe to house a medical room, facilities for a mobile hairdresser and small shop.

It was designed for free by Willerby-based architect David Cross.

His brother and chairman of the fundraising committee Paul Cross said: "We have an amazing fundraising campaign which starts in earnest now."

Mr Cross lives in South Cave but made many friends in the community after marrying his wife Irene, who was brought up in the village.

He said: "To apply for a Big Lottery fund the community has to be deemed deprived. But for a rural village of 600 houses there's huge community spirit when you consider the efforts the community has already put in to the church and other projects. It's a typical rural community that's suffered the loss of the shop, post office and other facilities .

"With the cost of transport rising people are now looking to their community centre to supply some of these things."

Dozens of events are planned throughout the year from whist drives, to dances and a scarecrow festival.

The latest campaign follows work to save St Andrew Church which only a few years ago faced closure.

Villagers raised the 80,000 towards a project costing a total of 237,000 and included reroofing the nave and replastering and redecorating the interior.

The bell, which had not been rung for 20 years, was restored and a servery and toilet were installed.

A heritage trail has since been launched and the cafe in the church, which dates from 1355, opens to the public again on March 27.

The village hall started life as the cook house for the army garrison that was based at Paull Battery during the Second World War.

In 1961 it was donated to the village and clad in brickwork and for many years hosted wedding receptions, dances and youth clubs.

However it is now showing its age and will be demolished when the new hall is built.