Ageing village memorial hall needs a 21st century facelift

Views of Ponteland.'The Memorial Hall
Views of Ponteland.'The Memorial Hall

CUSTODIANS of a 90-year-old community building in Ponteland have appealed to the local community to help it become fit for purpose in the 21st century, writes Muriel Sobo.

The Memorial Hall in Darras Road is showing its age and a major refurbishment is required.

About £500,000 is needed for a new central heating system, insulation, extensive repairs, a fully refurbished interior and the removal of the front canopy to allow for a re-designed entrance.

The central heating system is breaking down, with old pipes leaking and causing structural damage.

Roof insulation is necessary for the efficient working of the heating and new radiators will also improve the efficiency.

Treasurer of the Memorial Hall Committee David Cobb is concerned that if the problems are not addressed the hall could cease to function as a vital community building.

Some improvements have been funded in the last few years, including new toilets, a completely refurbished kitchen and new windows, with money coming from organisations within the village and easy access for all.

Ponteland Town Council has also begun talks to see if it can move into the building through a potential rear extension.

Last year there were more than 40,000 users of the hall and local support, from both individuals and businesses, could help to attract many more in an updated venue.

Committee Chairman Eric Marshall said: “Darras Hall is home to numbers of affluent individuals and we would like them to be involved in either giving donations or helping to raise funds.

“They live here because of the benefits Ponteland provides and we hope they show their appreciation by helping the community.”

The building of the hall and the erection of the War Memorial were to ‘remember the men from Ponteland District who had fallen and given their all for their country’s cause’.

In 1945, after the Second World War, another 24 names were added to the memorial.

Ideas to help bring in money so far include asking individuals to donate in memory of a loved one, organising a fund-raising day and encouraging all clubs and societies using the hall to organise events.

For more information, to make a donation or to suggest an idea, call Mr Cobb on 01661 871430 or email davidcobb2@tiscali.co.uk