A special anniversary took place in Donington this weekend on the 201st anniversary of the death of the man who gave Australia its name.
The life of Captain Matthew Flinders, born in Donington on March 16, 1774 and who died in London on July 19, 1814, was celebrated with a service at St Mary and The Holy Rood Church on Friday.
But guests, including Flinders’ ancestor John Flinders (68) and his wife Simone, members of the Britain-Australia Society and Lincolnshire County Council chairman William Webb and his wife Jane, may have also celebrated more than £14,000 of Big Lottery Fund cash given to the village.
Almost £5,200 went to Donington Church Hall which has undergone a £50,000 refurbishment this year to update it with new heating, lighting, floor, windows, clock, chairs and hearing loop.
Church treasurer Jane Pearson said: “The hall was built in 1900, paid for by public subscription, and it’s had some work done on it since then.
“But it was built without insulation and it was beginning to look a little tired, so last year we looked at the idea of giving it a total refurbishment.
“We were given a number of grants which enabled us to do much of the physical renovation work this year, including a lot of rewiring and wall insulation.
“But we realised that we’d only done three-quarters of the job and the money from the Big Lottery Fund has allowed us to put the finishing touches to the project, including a new induction sound system, hearing loop, speakers and some new chairs to replace the older, more uncomfortable ones.
“The £5,178 from the Big Lottery Fund has been a beautiful addition to our funds, alongside the £2,000 we received from the Dulverton Trust (a grant-making charity named after the 1st Lord Dulverton, former chairman and president of Imperial Tobacco).
“Together, they have brought a comfort factor to our church hall, it looks and feels nicer, people can hear better with the induction system and the hall is now a real bonus to us.”
The Flinders commemorative service was led by Rev Charles Robertson, priest-in-charge of Donington where a statue of the 18th century explorer and navigator can be found in the village square and inside the Grade-I listed church.
Mr Robertson said: “The Big Lottery Fund grant has helped us make the church hall fit for purpose in the current times.
“But it’s also ensured its longevity as well as both a community facility and a church one because the hall has a very active role to play in the village.
“The sums of money needed to refurbish it was far beyond the church so it’s absolutely appreciated by us that the Big Lottery Fund has given us this money.”
The rest of the £14,138 given to Donington by the Big Lottery Fund has gone to a youth group set up in 2006 under the name of Flinders himself.
Open to and run by young people aged 11 to 19, Flinders Founders was awarded £8,960 to create a paved seating area at the Teen Park it runs in Donington.
Margaret Wright, secretary of Flinders Founders, said: “Our project is to replace a circle of logs in the Teen Park that has started to rot and become a bit of a fire hazard.
“We consulted with the young people who use the Teen Park and decided to build a large, circular, paved area, putting in concrete blocks for people to sit on, at a cost of about £12,000.
“Very quickly, we got £3,500 from the Bicker (Wind Farm) Trust and we then successfully applied for a Big Lottery Fund (Awards for All) grant which has given us all the money we need to do this project.”
The work will take place in September, after which Flinders Founders will turn its attention to plans for the resurfacing of the park’s BMX track and a new teen shelter for the site, close to Donington Cowley Primary School and the village’s community centre off Town Dam Lane.
Mrs Wright said: “The older members of Flinders Founders do realise that they are making a difference in Donington and the young people who use the Teen Park are aware of it as well.
“Since Flinders Founders was formed in 2006, we’ve been awarded almost £200,000 worth of grants because we’ve been able to prove that money given to the group is well-used, well-monitored and well-spent.”
• The first Lincolnshire Transport Conference is planned for Springfields Events and Conference Centre, Spalding, on Friday, October 16. between 10am and 4pm.
Guest speakers from Network Rail, East Midlands Trains, commuters’ support group Transport Focus and other bodies have been invited to the event organised by Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum.
The group was founded in 2003 to improve bus, rail and road provision in the area and its conference has been backed by the Big Lottery Fund with an Awards for All grant of £2,600 to help put on the event.
George Scott, the forum’s chairman, said: “Spalding is an expanding town but it’s getting isolated, so we want to bring this to people’s attention because it’s affecting our economy.
“We don’t want to be an isolated community, stuck between two cathedral cities (Lincoln and Peterborough), so we want to look at the Local Transport Plan for South Holland and bring it to people’s attention.”