Grand Opening and Celebration Event

Thank you to all of you who came to our hugely successful Celebration Event on Bank Holiday Monday, 1st May 2017.

It was a long time in the making but the building works phase of our Harwell Village Hall Redevelopment Project is now complete.  The project itself will continue to run until we have paid off our £350,000 loan from the Charity Bank – a necessity to complete the build in one continuous effort which was the most cost-effective approach.

The Celebration Event on 1st May was attended by hundreds of visitors from all over the parish and all were amazed by what they saw: a state of the art facility boasting tiered, retractable seating in one large, light and airy, new hall alongside the marvellously refurbished original hall which is also furnished with an overhead projector, screen and blackout curtains.  A fully fitted and well-appointed modern kitchen; a beautiful communal entrance foyer with café-style seating surrounded by a fascinating museum  with a professionally displayed exhibition of the history of Harwell and the Village Hall; brand new toilets including baby-changing and disabled facilities; and freshly tarmacked car-parks at either ends of the site.

Architect and Designer of the Hall, Richard Potter of RPA Architects Ltd. said “It is not simply two halls, it is one big facility: it is a step up from most village halls.”

In his speech to announce the formal opening of the Village Hall, Trustee Chairman Dr Keith Beswick said: “Most of the reactions we have had from people have been just ‘wow’ and one person said to me ‘it is almost a miracle.’ We hope it will be a big hub for the village and we hope it will be one of the best, if not the best village hall in Oxfordshire.”

Parish Council Chairman, David Marsh, paid tribute to hard work of the Village Hall Trustees and to Keith in particular for his dedication and dogged determination to see the building work completed despite what seemed like a vast amount of money to be raised and a huge number of hoops to be jumped through.

In addition to the facilities and the hire-able spaces on offer, visitors to the event were also able to meet and chat to members of several of the groups and societies that use the hall regularly such as Harwell WI, Wood Turners, Fun Club, Gobo Theatre, Zumba and the Craft Group.  We hope this wonderful exposure results in an increase in their memberships!

Great entertainment was provided by the Bagg’s Tree Buskers, the Viv O’Gara Irish Dancers and Sublime Science who had the children “oohing” and “aaahing” at their wacky experiments.  Wandering magician Ben Goodhall was also very popular, as was John Hunt and his barrel organ at the entrance to the foyer.  The Body Art stand went down a storm and the glittering results were seen across the whole audience demographic!

Many thanks to our grants team who made the day possible by successfully applying for a Big Lottery Grant that paid for the day!

Thank you also to all of our sponsors, large and small, without whom none of this would have been possible.  Take a look at the header image for this website to see who they were.

Here is a gallery of images by John Lewis, photographer for the Oxford Mail/Didcot Herald.  All these images copyright Oxford Mail. Do not copy or use without their permission.

Images by David Marsh.  These images may be freely used to promote the Harwell Village Hall and its users.