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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;