Village hall is back in business

The outbreak of Covid-19 may have caused upheaval around the world, but it has failed to stop planned improvements at a popular village hall.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 5:13 pm
Actor and writer Peter MacQueen in the role of Herbert Pinnegar.

And now Middleton Village Hall, located between Hartburn and Scots Gap, is gearing up to host its first performance in 18 months.

Set in his ramshackle greenhouse in the grounds of a country house, gardener character Herbert Pinnegar will share memories, gardening tips and an unexpected love story with the audience in the show Old Herbaceous.

The improvements at the hall include an extension, a new multi-access toilet and the creation of a community archive.

Substantial financial support was received from the National Lottery Community Fund, the ACRE/DEFRA Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund, Northumberland County Council and Wallington Demesne Parish Council, as well as a number of trusts and foundations.

Its team are looking forward to the one-man play, which will take place on the evening of Sunday, June 27.

John Grundy, a local TV personality and long-standing friend of village halls, has been invited to formally re-open the hall at 7pm before the curtain rises on Old Herbaceous at 7.30pm.

The performance, which is part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme, finds Herbert Pinnegar pottering among the seeds and cuttings at the back of his beloved greenhouse.

Now in his twilight years, he is looking back over his life and reflecting on an English rural society which no longer exists.

A Highlights spokesman said: “Beautifully portrayed by veteran actor and writer Peter MacQueen, Pinnegar recounts his journey from orphan boy to legendary head gardener Old Herbaceous, and tells of his relationship with the lady of the house, Mrs Charteris.

“Between potting plants and drinking tea, he shares his life and gardening wisdom in a charming, humorous and touching portrayal of a single-minded man with a passion for plants.”

Tickets are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children, and there is a two-for-one offer for those aged between 16 and 35. For bookings, call 01670 772600 or go highlightsnorth.co.uk/event/old-herbaceous