The Committee held their Annual General Meeting in the Hall at 19:00 on June 4th 2019. Posters were displayed around the village, inviting everyone interested to attend. As always, we hoped for a good crowd, but, again as usual, the numbers were few. Here is a list of those who came along:

Faith Myers
Keith Newman
Stuart Allison
Bruce Hogan
Geoff Phelps
Nigel Cooper
Pam Taylor

Helen Wragg – WI
Sid Phelps – District Council
Graham Williams – Lydbrook Players
Terry Hannam
Pam Callow
Simon Callow
Sue Vincent – Parish Council
Rachel Mowatt – WI
Matthew Williams – Parish Council
Apologies from Tammie & Jon (Royal British Legion) who were held up by traffic on their way back from Belgium. ��

After the minutes from the previous AGM were approved, Chair, Stuart Allison, gave his report (As he is also the usual photographer at such events, there are none of this one.) His report is given below for those who were unable to attend on the night.

Report from the Chair:

This report is to let interested parties and the general public know how the Committee has managed Lydbrook Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground during the past financial year.

I’ll summarise events for the year and then explain our intentions for the future. Please ask questions after the Treasurer’s report, when we’ll do our best to answer them.

At the 2018 AGM a committee of 8 members was elected, including Representative Members from Lydbrook Primary School, Lydbrook Baptist Church, Lydbrook AFC, Lydbrook Players, and Lydbrook Athletic Club. A small but hard-working group who could have done so much better with more members. The more we have, the better we can serve the community.

The facilities of the hall and recreation ground are well used, but there’s capacity for more events of all kinds in both venues. Attempts to improve them for the benefit of the community are ongoing.

In the hall we’ve hosted user groups including yoga and Zumba, burlesque performers, occasional shows by outside professional players, a book sale, a rehearsal by Morris Dancers, and occasional parties for children and adults. We also held a Poppy Appeal day, a display of many of Lydbrook Historical Society’s records, a British Legion Murder Mystery and a Family Disco. The hall was also used for recent elections. Our regular users are; Lydbrook Players, the badminton club, the WI, Parish Council, and our tenants, Lydbrook Athletic and Football clubs.

The recreation ground continues to be used by Lydbrook AFC for matches, and is also available to local people for exercise and casual sport. Some excitement was caused by the launch of a hot air balloon by a private user; an event that may be repeated. We recently held a car boot sale to raise funds and this is now expected to be a regular monthly event during the summer. The car park continues to be used by residents, customers of local businesses, church congregations, parents collecting children from school, and parties of visiting walkers.

With the Hall in its nineties, it needs regular maintenance and some refurbishment and updating of facilities. The bay window, despite attempts to seal it, continues to leak, and this is being investigated by a qualified roofing concern to make it properly watertight.

The recreation ground is open to threat from boar invasion; something that’s ruined a few playing fields in the Forest. The vexed question of the wall around the field remains. This wall was built by volunteer labour in the 1920s, using stone gifted by the Forestry Commission. Unfortunately, because of increases in the quantity and speed of traffic, the risk of injury or death caused by vehicles speeding past the entrance to the recreation ground on Church Road is a real concern. We have a legal responsibility to drivers and pedestrian users of the field to ensure their safety.

So, what has the Committee been doing on your behalf over the past year?

As we sit, thanks to a grant from the Parish Council, the toilets are being modernised, including the disabled toilet, which is being brought up to current standards. Further redecoration inside the hall continues; this is an ongoing need, as the hall is a large building and our group of volunteers is small. We erected a new flagpole and flag outside the hall. Silhouettes of soldiers and a memorial bench were donated to commemorate our war dead. Funds raised separately for the Players are soon be used to replace the aging stage front. The hall floor has been stripped, sanded and resurfaced with the new badminton court now protected by the finish. The bay window roof was resprayed with waterproofing. The damaged window in the ladies’ toilet has been replaced, and the broken window in the loft above the stage repaired. The central heating developed a small problem, which has now been repaired.

On the rec, overgrown weeds and brambles were sprayed to kill them. These still require clearing, and we invite volunteers to help with their uprooting and disposal. We had to remove the portion of wall leading up Church Road to give vehicles and pedestrian users proper visibility. Anyone who’s used the entrance knows the sight-lines were seriously compromised. We’re still working on the curved wall lower down Church Road. The reduction in height to that part was interrupted due to a lack of funds for the equipment needed. We welcome any contributions of money, equipment and expertise, to complete that job and to replace the coping stones, which we’ve kept, to finish it off neatly. There’s also a need for repairs to parts of the rest of the wall where plants have dislodged some mortar. The football club has refurbished, re-roofed and redecorated their changing rooms.

We made 2 planning applications earlier this year. One was to formalise the proper use of the car park on the recreation ground. As the result of a complaint made by a resident, we were initially advised by the FoDDC we must apply for a Change of Use. The costs for this application were met by Matthew Jones. However, it became clear that the advice was incorrect, and we instead needed to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development, for which we were required to pay another fee. That certificate has now been issued, making that part of the field a formally recognised public car park. As it’s on our private land, we’re now determining how best to ensure it’s used responsibly and to the continued benefit of the whole community.

The second application was for an extension to the Athletics Club and the Hall. This has also been granted and we’re now in the process of deciding how best to develop the extra space that will become available in the hall. Suggestions are welcome.

The charity’s website continues to be updated with copies of the minutes of each meeting and financial reports as required. It also carries news about the venues and advertises upcoming events. Everyone’s welcome to visit the site. There’s space for comments there should anyone wish to be involved.

As to the future, we hope to further improve the Hall and make it into a first-class venue for our community. On the recreation ground we intend to tidy the wall, complete the car park changes, and finish work on installing the new fences and repairing the old damaged fence. We also hope to take advantage of a charity that supplies sapling trees for use in such locations and to plant some on the upper slope against Church Road, to provide a more pleasant outlook for all.

A ring-fenced sum is in place for a possible children’s play area on the recreation ground. We’re looking at the possibility of terracing some of the slope to accommodate equipment. Nikkie England, along with a couple of other mothers, is creating a separate charity to organise this venture and any support would be most welcome. There are considerable costs involved, including the purchase, erection and maintenance of equipment and annual insurance cover for possible damage and third-party claims for injury.

So, that’s where we are.

Finally, I wish to thank the outgoing committee for all their hard work. I took on the role of Chair under protest and will be resigning that position at the next monthly meeting.

The Committee would like to thank the following people for their help and support:

Lydbrook Athletic Club for paying for labour for the floor.

Jim Matthews for voluntary work on the new floor, and for the new fencing across the recreation ground.

Geoff Phelps for construction and erection of the new fence up Church Road.

Maxine and Terry Hannam for their gift of the new flagpole.

Adrian Watts, a former trustee, for his gift of a petrol strimmer, which he used to trim the grass above the wall along the main road. The machine is now held by Bruce Hogan, who’s taken over the care of the grass.

Keith Newman for replacing the plaques in the hall entrance following redecoration and many other jobs around the hall.

And the anonymous Others, who’ve carried out many sometimes small, sometimes large jobs to keep the hall and the recreation ground functioning for the benefit of the whole community.

Last, but by no means least, we welcome our new booking secretary, Zoe Lingham, who takes over from Faith Myers after this meeting.

This demanding role, not always fully appreciated, is a vital job, providing not only a point of contact for all users, but involving the opening and closing of the hall on every occasion, often dealing with odd emergencies as they occur, and keeping a diary to ensure people can get in for their particular event. Faith joined the Committee in 2016 and volunteered as both booking secretary and minutes secretary, another essential role, which she’s fulfilled brilliantly. She’s leaving us only because she’s also leaving the village, and she’ll be sorely missed. We’d like to thank her for her sterling work over the past few years. She’s done a great deal for the charity and deserves our appreciation. Thank you, Faith.

I now hand you over to Keith Newman, our treasurer, for his report.

The Treasurer’s printed summary sheet is displayed below. Keith Newman gave an explanation of the figures and answered questions from the floor regarding these. (the Minutes from the meeting will be displayed on the usual page on the website once they have been approved by the next monthly meeting, due on 2nd July at 19:00)

There followed a short session of questions from the floor, including some requests for clarification over the planning applications and our intentions for the future. (Again, these will be included in the minutes as above).

The current committee was then stood down. A new committee was formed as follows:

Representative Members from Organisations who are Users of the venues:

  • Lydbrook AFC – Jim Matthews
  • Lydbrook Athletic Club – Nigel Cooper
  • Lydbrook Baptist Church – vacant
  • Lydbrook Parish Council – Bruce Hogan
  • Lydbrook Parochial Church Council – vacant
  • Lydbrook Players dramatic Society – Pam Taylor
  • Lydbrook Primary School – vacant
  • Lydbrook Royal British Legion – vacant
  • Lydbrook Women’s Institute – Helen Wragg
  • Coleford Over 21 Badminton Club – Stuart Allison
  • Forest New Life Church – vacant

Elected Members (up to 6 required by the constitution):

  • Keith Newman
  • Geoff Phelps
  • Matt Williams
  • Terry Hannam
  • Zoe Lingham is the new booking secretary but was unable to attend. She will be invited to act as a trustee at the next meeting.

The vacant seats for the Representatives of User Organisations can be filled by nominations from those organisations. Please use the contacts form to inform the committee of such nominations.

The next meeting date for the new committee was decided as 19:00 on Tuesday 2nd July. As always, interested members of the public are invited to attend.

The meeting was then closed, and light refreshments served.

Our thanks to those who made the effort to come along and take an interest in these venues that serve the whole of the local community.

What’s Going on with the Hall?

The rear view of the Hall will be enhanced by the proposed extension.

Lydbrook Athletic Football Club, rent the ground floor of the Memorial Hall from us. We’ve applied for planning permission, as their landlord, on their behalf to build an extension to enable them to provide better facilities for disabled users. When this was first discussed by the committee, it quickly became clear that a two-storey extension would increase building costs only a little. The LAFC offered to provide the labour and obtain funds to cover all costs for the proposed changes. So, there’s no financial cost to the Memorial Hall charity.

We’re hoping to improve facilities for all users and to increase usage, and therefore income for the charity, by making the venue more attractive. The plan is generally to increase space, which can be used to modernise the kitchen, create a better facility for the Lydbrook Players and other performers to use during stage shows, install a small bar (the Hall carries a licence covering the entire premises, and this would help us attract adult parties, wedding receptions, and other similar events), and create some storage for the chairs when not in use. The plans submitted to the Council depict a reduced kitchen, but internal construction is immaterial for planning application purposes; we may do more or less as we wish inside the extension once the outer walls have been constructed. Clearly, regular users will be consulted on this issue once things get under way. Anyone with ideas regarding this, and anything else relating to the Hall or the Recreation Ground, is welcome to attend our regular monthly meetings. These are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 19:00. (Very occasionally, we miss a meet, but rarely more than once a year, usually during the summer months when people are on holiday).

The toilets in the Hall are out of date. In particular, the disabled facilities no longer reach modern standards. Thanks to a grant made available by the Parish Council, a company has been engaged to replace the old toilets and work is due to start in early June. There should be no impact on regular users during this change. Once the plumbing work has been completed, we’ll be looking for volunteers to redecorate the toilets to make them more attractive. If you can wield a paintbrush, wash walls, sweep a floor, fill holes, or any other such skill, please let us know. We’re always looking for volunteers to help improve the facilities for the village.

There’ll be more room for improved facilities both in the Football Club and the Hall itself.

It’s our hope that this piece will inform everyone in the village about our intentions, and our reasons for making changes. We’re aware that rumours circulate when there’s no information available, and we’re sorry we couldn’t provide this in full previously. Hopefully, everyone will see that we’re trying, with limited funds, a small committee, and few volunteers, to improve these amenities for the benefit of all who use them. Your comments, in the space provided below, are most welcome.

Thank you.

What’s Going On at the Recreation Ground?

Fence new 1-8613
The new fencing is slowly being put in place.

Those most affected have been officially notified, so we can now inform everyone of what we intend for the Recreation Ground and its car park. Rumours spread easily when there’s no information, and we’d like everyone to be aware of what we’re trying to do.
As you know, the field is used by Lydbrook Athletic Football Club for matches and by children and others on other occasions. The car park has been used for many years by residents, visitors walking in the forest, parents delivering and collecting children from the local school, customers of local businesses, and church congregations, especially for funerals, christenings, weddings and special celebrations. Without the car park, everyone would be forced to park on the main road, which is very narrow and carries HGVs, and/or on Church Road, which, as a bus route, is also not good for parking.
The District Council received a complaint about use of the car park, and, as a result we were required to apply for planning permission to continue its use. The alternative was to lock the gates and deny use of the facility, causing serious road safety hazards. After the initial application was made difficult by officials at County level, we were advised to use a different approach. We applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness, as the car park has been in continuous use for well over 10 years. That application is currently ‘live’. There’s no intention to use the car park any more than has been the case for decades, we’re simply required to formalise that use.
We’re now replacing the missing fencing with specially made rails to match those already in place up Church Road. The original wall, built in the 1920s when traffic was sparse and a lot slower than today, restricted driver visibility when entering and exiting the site. It was removed for safety reasons. It is now easy for car park users, and those driving along Church Road, to see traffic.

Fence 3-8616
Posts are in place ready for the new panels across the field. There will be a pedestrian gate at one end of the line and a vehicle access gate to allow grass-cutting and other vehicles onto the field when necessary.

We also need to separate the playing field from the parking area to protect it from potential wild boar damage. You’ll all be aware that several local sporting facilities have been ruined by such incursions. Fencing for that has been donated and is being fixed in line with the requirements of Sport England, who oversee the use and protection of playing fields. All this work is being done by unpaid volunteers and will therefore take time to complete. Please bear with us.
Once the above work is done, we want to apply to an organisation that supplies free saplings for planting in public spaces. We hope to place decorative trees at intervals along the slope from the entrance up the hill to the top of the field to enhance the look of the facility for everyone, and to make a contribution to environmental stability. This will affect only the top of the slope, as there’s still an intention to do some work on the area in the hope of providing play facilities for young children. A small committee is currently being formed to investigate how best to achieve this. One of the fundamental issues is the high cost of insurance for both public liability and damage to any equipment installed.

Fence new 2-8636
The new panels match the old ones and will be painted black once all have been installed.

During recent resurfacing of Church Road, we let the contractors use the car park in order to reduce congestion along the main road. In return, we were given some road scrapings to help with the parking surface. This will be spread, again by volunteers, as soon as we have the opportunity.
The wall that curves around the lower end of the Recreation Ground is being reduced in height to give pedestrians and drivers a clear view of traffic, some of which approaches at high speed when rounding the bend. This work is part done, and we’d appreciate practical help from any individual or company with the necessary equipment to complete it. As a charity, we lack funds to pay for such work. All activity is done by volunteers. No doubt the miners and other volunteers who built the wall in the 1920s would be pleased we’re carrying on the tradition of offering the facility to fit modern usage, understanding that traffic has greatly increased and moves much faster than in their day. Clearly, no one wants children, or anyone else using the car park, put in danger because of poor visibility and badly driven vehicles. The old coping stones have been preserved and will be replaced on the remaining wall once it’s been reduced in height.
We can afford the materials but not the wages generally paid for such skilled work. Anyone willing to do this, or any other work, please contact us using the form in the ‘Contact’ tab above, or speak to any Trust Committee member. Your help will be much appreciated. Thank you.
We hope this rather long explanation will inform everyone about our intentions, and our reasons for making the changes. We’re aware rumours have been circulating, and we’re sorry we were unable to provide full information previously; certain issues were undecided until recently. We are trying our best, with limited funds, an aging and small committee, and few volunteers, to improve these valuable facilities for the benefit of all who use them. Your comments, in the space provided below, are most welcome.
Thank you.
A second post will follow shortly, to explain what’s happening with the Hall. Watch this space.

Working on the Wall

Wall long
The length of the wall ready for pointing.

Recently, work’s been done by volunteers to clear the ivy and some of the buddleia from the strip of land behind the wall of the Recreation Ground as it runs beside the main road though the village. The roots of these plants had grown between the stones and they’re threatening to destabilise the wall. We now hope people with the necessary skills will volunteer to re-point the wall where needed. Without this work, the wall, started by willing volunteers in July 1934 and completed about a year later, is in danger of eventual collapse in places. We’d like to stop that happening, and with your help we can. We’ll pay for the materials, but we don’t have funds for the wages generally deserved for such skilled work, so, we need willing volunteers like the folk who originally built the wall. Anyone willing to do this, or any other work, please contact us by email to lydbrookmh(at)yahoo(dot)com, or by using the form in the ‘Contact’ tab above, or by speaking to any of the Trust Committee. Your help will be much appreciated. Thank you.

Wall portion
A portion of the wall, showing some of the wear and tear.

Armistice Day at the Memorial Hall

11.11.Church Hill March1

Sunday 11th November 2018: a date with real significance. Not only did Armistice Day fall on a Sunday this year, but it coincided with the centenary of the formal ending of World War 1. Because of this, a special service was organised for the Memorial Hall, the establishment of which was to remember all those local people who fell in battle on our behalf.

Photo courtesy Mark Lythaby.

After the morning service at the Church of the Holy Jesus, the congregation filed out onto Church Road, where they were joined by many other people from the village. The Lydbrook Silver Band led the march down the hill and through the village to the hall, where all assembled in the narrow space permitted by the road. Made safe by the Parish Council, through Bruce Hogan who had arranged with the local police to have the road closed during the service.

The memorial had already been enhanced by the generous gift of a commemorative bench by Lydbrook Athletic Football Club; a silhouette of a WWI soldier, sponsored by the Parish Council, and placed above the hall entrance; and another WWI soldier silhouette placed within the railings, sponsored by the local Royal British Legion branch.

The Rev. Roger Minson led the religious aspect of the service with hymns and prayers.
Trevor Hek hosted the ceremony on behalf of the Royal British Legion, ensuring all went according to plan. He read out the names of those commemorated, giving details about their service. And, as the names were read, the staff and pupils of Lydbrook Primary School placed poppy crosses at the memorial, and wreaths were laid.
The Royal British Legion Standard was in the capable hands of Standard-bearer Tammie Johnstone.

Photo courtesy Mark Lythaby.

The Last Post was played, evoking that usual lump-in-the-throat response by many, by Robert Morgan, M.B.E., who also led and conducted the Lydbrook Silver Band, playing appropriate music and accompanying the hymns.

Rachael Mowatt, of the Women’s Institute, read John McCrae’s ‘In Flanders Fields’, evoking more memories and thoughts of the devastating effects of war.
The gathered crowd of attendees did the village proud; a good throng, representing all ages. Even one or two villagers in poor health managed to attend and all braved the sudden downpours without complaint. And, at least the sun emerged afterwards.

The sincere thanks of the Committee of Lydbrook Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground go to all who participated in, organised, and attended this centenary commemoration of the sacrifice of our brave local heroes.
Sorry to be late with this – I was collecting information. My photographs are a little limited, as I climbed the path opposite the hall to get an overall shot and was then trapped there for the duration. If anyone has additional pictures they’d be willing to share here, please use the ‘Contact’ tab to get in touch, and we can make arrangements. Thank you.

Lydbrook 100 – A Celebration of Village History.


legion 3

The Memorial Hall is hosting a celebratory exhibition of the history of Lydbrook right now!
There are information boards and displays from the Lydbrook Historical Society – I particularly enjoyed the one about the 17 pubs the village once housed! And there are some fascinating photographs of the place as it developed. Others showing the industrial heritage. Lots of pictures showing local people either in groups or going about their everyday business. Really interesting stuff.

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There’s a wide display by the Women’s Institute, giving details of their history and current activities. I loved the tea towel giving a list of humorous rules relating to the behaviour and conduct of the attendees.

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The local branch of the Royal British Legion has a great display showing the work they do and commemorating the local heroes (and heroines) of the two World Wars, and presenting various items of interest, including some facsimiles of old newspapers of the times.

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And there’s a pictorial history of Lydbrook Silver Band and its activities, including the building of the new practice room. Lots of pictures of band members past and present.

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And there’s coffee, tea and biscuits on offer.
It’s a great place to spend an hour or so out of this dreadful rain, either revisiting old haunts or finding out what happened in the past here in the village.
But better be quick! The display is open only until 16:00 today, 10th November. Get along there before you miss out!

World War 1 Centenary at the Memorial Hall


WW1 bench

To commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1, things are happening at the Memorial Hall.

WW1 bench in situ
If you’ve passed the hall recently, you’ll have seen the splendid new commemorative bench next to the bay window. This was kindly donated by Lydbrook Athletic Football Club and installed by club members during the past few days. A small floral display enhances the bench, which is there for all to use as a place of rest and contemplation. The Committee wishes to express its sincere thanks for this wonderful addition to the hall’s memorial function.

WW1 bench name
You will also have noticed there’s a silhouette of a soldier now stationed above the double doors to the hall. This was sponsored by the Parish Council, with the Royal British Legion, and installed by members of the Committee. Again, our sincere thanks to the Parish Council and the Legion for this enhancement to the halls’ commemorative function.

WW1 soldier close

On Saturday, 10th November, everyone is invited to the exhibition/display ‘Lydbrook 100’, which takes place in the hall from 10:00 a.m.

WW1 soldier flag
And on Remembrance Sunday, 11th November, the hall will host a secular commemorative service. All are invited to attend. This starts at 10:40 a.m.

Was That a Hot Air Balloon?

The old balloon inflated.

A few days ago, we had a request for an unusual event on the Recreation Ground. A man wanted to use the space to launch a hot air balloon. Could he? Well, we could see no reason why not, and the Football Club raised no objections to this use of the field.
It was an event entirely dependent on weather. In this case, whether the wind was blowing in the right direction at the time of the proposed launch. Because of this uncertainty, advertising it could easily have left hopeful witnesses disappointed instead of excited, so we said nothing.
Come the day, Thursday, Faith, our trusty booking manager, got word an hour or so before the team arrived. I’d been primed and went down there on spec, camera at the ready.
We saw the vehicle on the main road and were waiting at the gate to guide them in.
‘What a great site for a launch!’ was Thomas Lee’s initial reaction when he stepped out of his car and looked around.
There followed 30 minutes of intense technical activity as the basket was prepared, an older balloon unfolded by Allen Lutz and laid out on the turf. Trainee pilot, Rob Grzesiczek, operated the diesel driven fan to start inflation, and then with help from pilot Thomas, used hot air from the gas cylinders to complete the job.
That first inflation was only for show, so photographs could be taken to help sell the old balloon. It was quickly deflated and packed back in its bag.

The new balloon is prepared

Next came the new balloon; smart blue nylon spread out over grass and slowly brought to fullness with the fan followed by hot fierce air. Gracefully, the fabric rounded out and floated up to vertical, and everything was ready.
To cheers from the small crowd of onlookers, attracted by the spectacle, buoyancy was briefly tested. And, released from its tether, the floating giant graced grey skies as it ascended over Lydbrook trees and made its way toward the River Severn and its destination, Cam, across the water. An interesting event.

Up, up, and away!

We made no charge for this first launch, unaware whether the Recreation Ground would suit the purpose, and happy to use this attempt as a test. Now we know it can be done, we’re open to similar events in future.
So, if you’d like to launch your hot air balloon, or undertake any other activity that won’t damage our playing surface, please contact our booking manager, Faith Myers. You’ll find her details under the ‘Bookings’ tab. Or you can email us using the small form under the ‘Contact’ tab, but I must warn you I check that only once a week.
Cost? Well, we’re a committee, democratic and cooperative, so we’ll discuss that at our next monthly meeting, 6th November, and agree a fair price to pass on to prospective users.

By the way, Thomas thinks an item of equipment was inadvertently left behind: a length of rope, about 5 feet in length, with a metal karabiner attached at one end. If anyone has come across this, please let us know – probably easiest to contact Stuart Allison direct by email at stuartkallison(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you.

An Update to the Hall’s History.

I’ve had the chance, due to recently received information, to correct an impression of neglect at the Hall prior to when the new committee formed in 2016. I’m happy to insert this piece into the history to set the record straight.

Bruce Hogan became involved in the Memorial Hall in 2001. Just before that, the old stone retaining wall between the recreation ground and the chapel had collapsed. The insurance company reluctantly paid for the gabion basket wall that’s now there, at one basket below its current level, but they increased our premium to a level that placed the Hall on the verge of going bust.

The committee at the time were ageing and few are still with us. Bruce immediately found affordable insurance.

At the time, the Hall was in a dreadful state of repair. The old steel-framed windows had rusted and many panes of glass were missing. They were boarded up from the inside and there was no natural daylight inside. The bay window had been converted into a cupboard for the playgroup.

The railings around the fire escape into the Health Centre car park were missing. The sub-floor ventilation had been blocked, as the air bricks were below the current pavement level and were served by wells blocked with debris. The sub-floor ventilation had also been compromised by the creation of the Athletic Club in what was once the coal cellar. The Club had no formal lease and paid rent at well below the market value initially. Bruce, however, was able to negotiate a lease with the Club. That lease was recently renewed, and the Club and the trustees continue a very healthy and good working relationship.

He managed to obtain a grant to replace the old windows with the current double-glazed PVC windows, which insulate much better against cold and noise. To minimise the noise effect on our immediate neighbours, the rear windows were made smaller. Bruce negotiated a discounted fee for scaffolding to enable walls to be built below the reduced height windows and erected the new walls himself as well as rendering the outside and plastering the inside.

The play group cupboard was removed, revealing dry rot in the bay window floor. Bruce gained funding to treat the area and he rebuilt the floor higher to improve sub-floor ventilation into the Hall itself. This is now provided by uPVC pipes he installed, visible by the bay window and war memorial.

He also installed the current railings around the rear fire escape, donating the scaffolding tubes.

Drainage from the front roof ran over the pavement, causing icing in the winter. To cure this, he created a soakaway by lifting paving slabs in front of the war memorial and removing a cubic metre of subsoil, filling the space with pea gravel and relaying the slabs.

Many other minor maintenance jobs were also done by Bruce, some as recently as last year. He’s not alone in this activity; a small core of committee stalwarts continue to do much of the maintenance work on the hall as volunteers; something we’d welcome outside help for, if anyone’s willing and able.

As treasurer, Bruce produced balanced, audited accounts, sensibly refusing to deal with petty cash, so that every penny passed through our bank accounts. This habit continues today, as a secure method of dealing with money under the rules and suggested practises of the Charity Commission.

This post is a statement of thanks to Bruce and all others involved, and an attempt to set the record straight so we can move forward in our hopes of improving facilities even further, and as a way of making public some of the dedicated work that goes on behind the scenes, often invisible to users of the Hall and the Recreation Ground. Recently, for instance, committee members, along with volunteers including some Lydbrook Players, have redecorated the interior of the hall, sanded the floor, repainted the badminton court and varnished the floor. The guttering was repaired following damage by the heavy snow, and the bay window has now been made waterproof. A new flagpole has been donated and erected, and outside lights are now fitted. We’re hoping to complete the exterior decoration over the next few months. And the recreation ground is due to be made safer and more attractive when old brambles and weeds are treated and removed. So, lots still going on.

We’re always in need of practical help, volunteer labour, both skilled and unskilled, the generosity of funding organisations, and of individuals. These facilities have served the community well for many decades. If they’re to continue in that valuable role, we need more local people to lend a hand. It doesn’t involve a great deal of time, just a few hours here and there. So, if you’re interested in doing something to help the community in which you live, please pop along to our next meeting, in the hall, at 19:00 on Tuesday, 7th August, and let us know what you can offer. Thank you. If you can’t attend, please contact us with any offers via the ‘Contact’ tab at the top of the website.

This is the first of what I envisage may be a short series of posts correcting false impressions from the past or filling in blanks in the history of the charity and its work. I invite anyone with any knowledge of, or records about, the Memorial Hall and/or the Recreation Ground, to contact me as above. We can then arrange to meet and/or exchange any documents and information. Thank you.

New Floor, New Badminton Court!

After the sanding.

Over the past few days, a couple of generous gentlemen volunteers, who wish to remain anonymous, have been diligently attacking the floor of the hall. Estimates are that it was last given any treatment some 20 years ago, maybe longer.

The badminton court had almost disappeared with wear, some of the floorboards were sprouting splinters, and the general finish was pretty poor. So, we shelled out the cash for the necessary equipment and materials, and a couple of stalwarts volunteered to do the deed without charge.

Due to almost constant use, it was difficult to find days when there would be free time to get on with the task. But through liaison between our splendid secretary, Faith Myers, and our wonderfully flexible users, we were able to fit in the various tasks.

First, the floor needed sanding to remove the old varnish and smooth away the splinters. That inevitably led to dust falling in places we’d really rather it hadn’t. But the hall is such that it’s impossible to store everything away from such contamination. No matter, once the sanding was finished, the residual dust was soon cleaned away.

Next came the marking out of the new Badminton Court. An online search brought up plans in metric and imperial and these were handed to the men on the job. Tape measures, knives, set squares and tape to hand, they marked out the lines to form a perfect modern court.

Then came the painting of the white lines. A tedious and exacting job, particularly in the hot weather we’ve been experiencing recently.

Badminton ct
The Badminton Court is painted in place.

The longest job, requiring total absence of users from the hall for 3 days, was the application of the recommended coating. This non-slip varnish was applied in 3 coats over the white lines to help protect them against future wear.

The job was finished on Friday and left to dry in time for use on Saturday. Now, everything is back to normal for all users. The Committee would like to extend their thanks to the gentlemen who did the work (you know who you are!) and users have also asked us to express their thanks for a splendid job well done!

New floor
And the new floor is ready for use!

Without this sort of generosity from local people, we wouldn’t be able to afford to keep the hall (and the recreation ground) up to scratch. We’re always looking for help, so if you’re willing, please contact any of the committee or use the short form on the contact page to get in touch with us. Thank you.