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Village Hall News


By Village Hall News

The people of Hurst Green and the surrounding parish are to be invited to a special function to mark the end of a four-year project to completely revitalise the community’s social hub.

Over that time a special project group of five people, Niall Macfarlane, Barbara Herd, Margaret Carrington, Des Harwood and Peter Butterfield, has overseen a fund-raising campaign which has generated an amazing sum of nearly £300,000 to bring the village’s War Memorial Hall into the 21st century.

Through grant aid and the parishioners’ own fund raising efforts the project group has been able to pay for and manage works to retile the roof, instal ground-source heating, completely re-equip the kitchen, instal a classy new bar, redecorate the hall including new oak panelling, upgrade the toilets, fit a chair-lift to enable disabled access to the upstairs Jubilee Room, which has also been redecorated, instal new double-glazed windows, upgrade the hall’s electrics and refurbish the changing rooms for the village’s football club.

The hall, on Avenue Road, was self-built by the villagers back in the fifties and sixties and was beginning to show its age. There is still a lot of emotional investment in the hall, which was built to honour the war dead from the parish, so, four years ago, the project group, consisting of members of the parish council and the village hall committee, was formed to draw up plans to bring the hall into the 21st century.

“We held a consultation exercise with the parishioners to work out what was the best plan for the hall,” said Niall Macfarlane, the chairman of the village hall committee.

“We put forward all sorts of ideas – even the possibility of demolishing the hall and rebuilding elsewhere but there were a lot of obstacles to this, not least opposition from many parishioners.

“Finally, it was decided to refurbish the hall to make it fit for purpose again. The biggest issue was the heating – in winter it was really cold and draughty – but the roof was the most pressing problem. The concrete tiles were deteriorating and leaking in places so we decided that it should be the priority and we made it phase 1.

“The heating was phase 2 which, I am pleased to say, has been fantastically successful and the hall, although rather large, is now warm and cozy whatever the weather outside.

“In later phases we were also able to refurbish the interior, including the changing rooms for our village football club, upgrade the kitchen, toilets and the mezzanine floor, with a chairlift for the disabled, fit new windows, renew the ceiling and upgrade all the electrics. And all this despite timings being dislocated by the covid lockdowns.

In addition, the project group was quick to grasp an opportunity to instal a new bar to move the sale of drinks away from the kitchen area. Bought from the now-closed New Drop Inn it was dismantled, transported, refurbished and re-installed in the hall by Des Harwood, aided by Peter Butterfield and John Taylor.

“Initially, when we roughly costed the plans and informed the parishioners that we were looking at raising £300,000, there were many who said it could not be done. Well, thanks to our two sterling grants gurus, Barbara Herd and Margaret Carrington, who have put in a staggering amount of work to source grant funding, we have done it.”

A total of £73,300 was raised for the roof, £137,700 for the heating, £15,000 for the changing rooms, £47,500 for the kitchen, toilets and Jubilee Room, £21,700 for the windows and £2,300 for the chair lift. The electrics, the new bar, new ceiling and new curtains for the stage and windows were financed from the hall’s own funds. A local farmer excavated the ground works for the ground-source heating on the Bailey Field behind the hall at cost.

Grants for the work have come from:

  • The Big Lottery
  • Garfield Weston
  • The BA Carbon Fund
  • Bernard Sunley
  • Ribble Valley Borough Council
  • The Harold and Alice Bridges Trust
  • The Craven Trust
  • The Duchy of Lancaster
  • ACRE/Defra
  • Lancashire Environment Fund
  • Awards For All
  • Skelton Charity, Liverpool
  • The Foyle Foundation
  • Affordable Mobility, Clitheroe.

Local folk have also pitched in with fund raising through bingo sessions, donating raffle prizes and holding functions such as open gardens, a safari supper, a wine and music festival and a special ‘Hurst Green’s Got Talent’ variety show showcasing villagers’ talents.

To mark the end of the massive effort a special free function is to be held in the hall in November to which all parishioners are going to be invited. Food and entertainment will be provided along with a free glass of wine. As there are more parishioners than the hall can hold – despite its size – it will be on a first-come-first-served basis. More details will be announced later.

“We wanted to mark the end of the project with a thank-you to the community who have supported us so well,” said Niall.

“The Memorial Hall is now one of the premier community venues in East Lancashire. We already have some loyal customers, including the Hindu Association from Preston, and we are ready to market the hall to everyone to enjoy the facilities.”

Anyone wishing to hire the hall should contact Kath Molyneux on or phone 07973 521774.

Pictures of the new-look hall can be viewed on the Memorial Hall website at

For more information contact Peter Butterfield on 01254 826308, or 07895625897 or email;


Village Hall re-roofing project

By Village Hall News

We are all delighted to report that the re-roofing of the Hall is now complete.

Huge thanks to Joe Nutter and his dad Fran, who have completed the work. We hope you agree – the roof looks wonderful!

Update from our Chair

Aighton, Bailey and Chaighley Memorial Hall (aka Hurst Green Memorial Hall)

Phase 1: The roof

I write in my capacity as Chair of the village hall committee, as a member of the fundraising project team, and as a villager of the community of Hurst Green.

From my office room in my house, I can see five local workers currently completing the necessary building work on the village hall roof. I watched them begin when the storms we faced in early February (Ciara, Dennis, and Jorge which first started on 8th February and only finished on the 8th March 2020) when the project looked like it would never get going. Then the storms abated and the weather has been more settled and gradually got warmer too.

Seeing the work progress in front of everyone who drives or walks by is publicity in itself: locals can converse with the workers and see for themselves the steady progress: they can see the removal of the old tiles – and see what state of disrepair they were in; they can see the gradual reduction of roofing tile pallets as they are placed ready to be distributed on the roof; they can see the roof channels for rain water being checked and remodelled after fifty years.

I am incredibly proud of the opportunity for the project to happen and the involvement of grant makers and the community to enable its realisation. There is no doubt that without the former it would have been a non-starter. And the building would have fallen into disrepair and become a mill stone rather than a centre for the community.

The significance of grant makers is not just in their generosity to support such projects but their ability to build momentum and give confidence to the project.

Each award comes with conditions and that is only correct. If I can illustrate with some examples of grant bodies and their requirements and how we have met them, then I hope you will get a flavour of why we approached them and what we would offer in return for their support:

Awards for All: as part of the work requirement on the roof, an earlier survey identified the finials

(the decorative feature at the top of top of the roof ends) as in a dangerous state of repair and would need both fixing and re-cementing. The Award money was a very timely help and ensured the opportunity of using the scaffolding for the roof tiles for this remedial work


ACRE (Action with communities in rural England): this body is a part of DEFRA, and it recognises the importance of village halls in communities. They have recognised our rural isolation and how a physical hub is needed for the community to maintain and build up the social activities for both the elderly and families

Village fundraising: in all grant making applications, there is a reminder of ‘what are you doing to raise money?’ This is only right to demand from the community a fiscal response: put your money where your mouth is! The Project Team took this opportunity to galvanise the community with a variety of fund raising projects (Talent Show, Bingo, Sponsorships etc.) which had the essence of fun whilst being gently fleeced! And the community has responded positively to spend their money, support the activities, see for themselves the progress being made to accumulate the necessary funds, and literally buy into the plan. The time generosity of the organisers has been marvellous to behold and the response form the villagers has been humbling. Particularly from the original hall volunteers still living from over fifty years ago!

Harold and Alice Bridges: a local fund which really hit the spot for our application. We were lucky enough to be sited in the preferred area; our request was for appropriate capital support for the roof tile replacement and the funds focus was on village halls.

RVBC (Ribble Valley Borough Council) have been long standing supporters of all the rural parishes of the Borough and have been generous in their time, advice and financial giving to the project. They also recognise that when elections are held, we are the only best placed location and building to hold the requisite facilities for such affairs!

LEF (Lancashire Environmental Fund): a major contribution to our efforts, and probably the most challenging for us to meet in terms of their requirements. Examples of how we have recycled as the work has progressed include the following:

  • The wooden roof batons were not fit for purpose and locals have used the broken pieces for their firewood
  • All lead has been re-used on site
  • Where the roof supports have had to be replaced a volunteer has removed the nails from the wood and recycled the metal accordingly
  • The old tiles were beyond re-using (the concrete material was very badly corroded) but the they have been used for hard core (local Farmers)
  • The membrane and underfelt were beyond repair or re-use.
  • The old top coping tiles have been re-used as hard core
  • The plastic guttering has been checked and replaced; the plastic has been sent off to a specialised re-cycling place
  • The new tile pallets’ wood has been used by locals for making garden sheds!


In summary, I would like to thank again all those involved whether supporters, donors, volunteers, grant makers, (and the dreamers) without which none of this would be happening and what makes the future look so promising even as I write whilst the dire pandemic is undergoing around our world.

Best wishes

Niall Macfarlane

Chair of the Memorial Hall, Hurst Green

Village Hall Re-roofing Project has begun

By Village Hall News

The Village Hall Roof Project

After a period of very hard work by the Project Team to kick off both a mammoth fund-raising effort and grant application campaign, we have raised the required funds to begin the re-roofing project and we are delighted to report that (if you haven’t seen the evidence already) work has begun. The team headed up by Joe Nutter and his dad Fran can be seen up there on the roof each day and we are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather!