20th Birthday Party

Happy 20th Birthday, Abbots Morton Village Hall

The community of Abbots Morton celebrated the 20th anniversary of the construction of their ‘new’ village hall with a birthday party in the hall.

Around 80 people were at the party on 11th February including 20 of the first village hall committee and fundraisers who had enabled the hall to be built in February 1998.

Villager Sue Bunce made a fabulous two-tier birthday cake which was cut by three women who’ve held the office of Chair of the village hall committee in the past two decades.

Above:  Cutting the cake (l to r) Catherine Hilton, the Chair of the Committee when the hall opened; Melanie Clarke, the current Committee Chair; and former Chair, Sarah Dykes.

Melanie Clarke, the present Chair of the Abbots Morton village hall committee said:  “It was lovely that those who had been responsible for creating this hall… most of them no longer living here…were able to return and see what it looks like now, we’re proud that the legacy they left has been maintained and improved upon so that we have one of the nicest village halls in the county.”

On display at the party were photos of the old village hall, the new hall under construction and various events that have taken place in the hall over the past two decades.

One corner of the hall was laid out as a cinema to show a video of the opening ceremony 20 years ago and other footage of the village in past times. One film was adapted from black and white cine film shot in Abbots Morton by Stanley Bulmer in 1940 when his son young son Michael Bulmer was a wartime evacuee to the village. It was lovely that Stanley’s grand-daughter, Jane Eikhoff from Chepstow, came  to the birthday party  to hear locals identify locations and people in the film.

Tim Jones from Radford, who was the Treasurer for the village hall project and who still audits the VH Committee’s accounts, made an illuminating speech looking back on how they did it.

An excellent cold buffet was provided by  Fresh Maid Sandwiches/Catering on behalf of  Val’s Catering of Redditch.

Among those at the party were the Chairman of Abbots Morton Parish Council, Nick Humphries, and Parish Councillors Richard Whitlow and Clive Holt.  The Parish Council had agreed to meet the costs of putting on the birthday party as an expression of togetherness in providing an opportunity for the whole community to be together.

Please enjoy browsing through some pictures of the day.

Above: Jane Eikhoff (right), from Chepstow, whose grandfather shot film of Abbots Morton in 1940, Melanie Clarke (centre) the current chair of the Village Hall Committee and (left) Grace Clarke, Melanie’s daughter.

Above: Viv Oddy (left) with Thelma Taylor, one of the original fundraisers and volunteers at the village hall in 1998.

Above: Goom’s Hill resident  Peggy Clarke (left) with Anne Renshaw, one of the village hall volunteers in 1998 and singer with the choral group A Tempo . Behind them is the ‘cinema’ area showing some of the old footage of the village.

Above: (centre) Lynne Pemberton, the current Secretary of the Village Hall with (left) Sue Bunce who made the magnificent birthday cake and (right) Abbots Morton resident and former village hall committee member, Ruby Clapton.

Above: (left) Former Abbots Morton resident Derek Spooner with the Rector of Abbots Morton, Rev Canon Richard Thorniley.

Above: (left) Former Chair of the village hall committee and current member of it, Sarah Dykes, who generated the display of memorabilia and organised the  cinema area. With her is her daughter Imo Dykes, who not only made sure everyone had a complimentary glass of sparkling wine on arrival at the party but has  raised hundreds of pounds for charity, principally the Acorns Children’s Hospice, with her “Imo’s Quiz” nights in the village hall.

Above: Committee Chair Mel Clarke giving her speech, alongside Tim Jones waiting to deliver his speech.

Above: Looking at the display of memorabilia and photos of the past two decades of the village hall.

Above: David Kennedy from Inkberrow and his family. It was David’s mother, the late Dorothy Kennedy, who cut the ribbon at the opening of the hall in February 1998.

Above: (r to l) Jane Johnson, formerly of the village and star of past pantomimes put on in the hall with, next to her, Paul Massey, David Bullock and Jane’s partner.

Above: The birthday cake.