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Artist David Downes helps raise vital funds for Brome village hall

An internationally-renowned artist has offered his support to help raise vital funds for a village hall.

Landscape painter David Downes, who was born and brought up in Brome, has donated a piece of his art to help with the cost of refurbishing the Brome and Oakley village hall.

The 48-year-old, who has been commissioned by the BBC and ITV in the past, said: “I’ve spent many cheerful hours in the village hall at various events.

Chairman of the village hall committee, John Parry and artist David Downes. Picture by Simon Ransome.
Chairman of the village hall committee, John Parry and artist David Downes. Picture by Simon Ransome.

“It is very much the centre of community life here and I’m glad I am able to help.”

The venue in The Street is an old Victorian village school which was converted to a village hall more than 50 years ago.

Initial refurbishment in 2015 saw parts of the interior upgraded but substantial modernisation is still needed.

The artwork showing Oakley Church in winter.
The artwork showing Oakley Church in winter.

“It’s showing its age now and needs repair and renovation,” said John Parry, chairman of the village hall committee.

“It is where everyone in the
village meets and the reason why there is such a friendly community spirit here and we need to nurture it.”

Thousands of pounds are still needed and with the help of Mr Downes, who donated his image of Oakley Church in Winter for a Christmas card, the committee remains positive that they will succeed.

“David’s donation is extremely generous and we hope local people will support this initiative by buying the card,” said Mr Parry, a former financial journalist and media consultant.

The card can be purchased at the village hall as well as at various other fundraising activities organised by the committee, which are advertised on the noticeboard outside the village hall.

Mr Downes, a former Hartismere School student, attended the Royal College of Art before building a career in the UK and California.

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Despite living and working in Manningtree, he is known to regularly visit his family and friends in the village.

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