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Work begins on restoring Denham village hall to former glory




A group of community organisers got to work this week on restoring a derelict Second World War building, which has fallen into disrepair.

On Saturday, around a dozen members of Denham Parish Council began work on the village hall, which has laid largely unused for two years.

The building, in Hoxne Road, dates back to the Second World War, when it was used by personnel from the US Air Force.

Members of Denham Community Council at the Denham Village Hall to begin clearance of the grounds in preparation for renovations of the building. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY.
Members of Denham Community Council at the Denham Village Hall to begin clearance of the grounds in preparation for renovations of the building. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY.

Council member Christine Drane said she had her heart set on restoring the disused building – which is owned by the council – after moving to the village from Chelmsford two years ago.

“The building is in a dreadful state – it has an asbestos roof and it needs re-cladding,” said the 69-year-old. “If things had continued at the current rate of deterioration, it would probably have to be demolished.

“It’s such a shame as the building dates back to the Second World War, and was used as a guardroom by the US Air Force.

Derek and Christine Drane had their hearts set on bringing the hall back to life after they moved to Denham two years ago. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY.
Derek and Christine Drane had their hearts set on bringing the hall back to life after they moved to Denham two years ago. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE PHOTOGRAPHY.

“We are trying to preserve it –the whole idea behind this is that the building is going to be put back to the way it was.

“We’re going to take out the UPVC windows and replace them with something close to what it would have had originally.

“Once it’s done, we can use it to house parties, art classes and play groups.”

The parish council is looking for volunteers and donations to help with the project, having set itself a target of £175,000.

Mrs Drane, a retired lecturer, added: “It’s a really nice way to get to know local people.

“What we are trying to do at the moment is get it back bit by bit so that it is better protected for when winter comes.

“We had a generous cheque from local farmers, and a number of things planned to raise funds, but, because of coronavirus, they have been stopped, so we are desperate for more helpers and donations.”

Anyone wishing to donate or volunteer at future events should email denhamparishclerk@gmail.com.


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