Damage to hall was ‘soul destroying’ for community

Chairman of Bicker Village Hall management committee Alan Chapman surveys the ceiling. DD
Chairman of Bicker Village Hall management committee Alan Chapman surveys the ceiling. DD

THE community in Bicker has been left ‘devastated’ by damage caused to the village hall but in the face of adversity are vowing to pull together.

The venue, which only last year underwent a £60,000 revamp, has been left unusable after sustaining major water damage.

Chairman of Bicker Village Hall management committee Coun Alan Chapman said the problem was discovered over the festive period when water was found ‘gushing out of the loft and down walls in the lobby area’.

“The whole ceiling had collapsed and the floors here and in the adjacent rooms were flooded to a depth of about 5cm,” he added.

The electrical system was also flooded and had to be shut down.

“As you can imagine we were devastated,” continued Coun Chapman. “We have just finished a major revamp costing in the region of £60,000.”

This included new windows and doors, toilets, kitchen, bar area, and re-varnish of the solid beech floor in the main hall.

After an initial clean up, there was hope this main floor had survived, but Coun Chapman says that has now proven not to be the case. The wood has taken in water causing it to expand and leave two humps about 35cm high running three-quarters of the length of the hall. The repair bill for this could run up to £45,000 and take considerably longer than the other damage to be fixed, said Coun Chapman.

“After nearly three years of hard work by so many dedicated people, to walk into the hall and this level of damage was soul destroying,” he added. “We had just begun to market the hall as a new venue. Now we must start again.”

A number of events have already had to be moved or cancelled. This includes the annual Plough Sunday tea, an 18th birthday party, a bowls club race night and other weekend events. The damage has also forced the indefinite postponement of weekly club events like line dancing, bingo, garden club and keep fit.

“This has been a terrible blow to the whole community, but as usual we are all working together to put things right,” concluded Coun Chapman.

l Is your community overcoming adversity? Email stephen.stray@jpress.co.uk.