Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert cut the ribbon to open Thakeham’s new village hall at a special celebration on Friday (8 March).
The MP was welcomed to the new hall by John Instance, Secretary and Treasurer of the Village Hall Trust, and his wife Caroline who is Chair of the Community Group in Thakeham. John gave Mr Herbert a tour of the new facilities prior to the official opening.
Local people and councillors, including West Sussex County Councillor Pat Arculus (Pulborough Division) and Horsham District Councillors John Blackhall, Philip Circus and David Jenkins (Chactonbury Ward), turned out for the event at the new Abingworth Meadows development. John Bearman, Chairman of the Village Hall Trust, led the proceedings before leading his Thakeham Morris Men in two local dances.
Councillor Peter Burgess, Chairman of Horsham District Council, gave thanks to the developers Oakford Homes, the councils, and the community who were all represented at the event. Mr Burgess also revealed that the new hall has been shortlisted for a design award by the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Mr Herbert thanked the volunteers, recognising the part they will play in looking after the hall and running the activities to help it thrive. He also spoke about the importance of village halls and the value they bring to their communities.
The MP then cut the ribbon to declare the new hall open. A reception was held afterwards inside the hall where Mr Herbert spoke to many of the residents.
Thakeham Village Hall Trust was first established in 1979. Their first hall was a second-hand wooden cabin, which had been adapted and extended. The new purpose-built village hall provides much more space, and is an example of how housing developers can work with a community.