A short history
The original Hall building was the Church of England Primary School. In 1973 whilst the Headmaster, Mr. Gordon Young, was on a year’s course the school was closed by the then Rutland Education Authority. It subsequently took the Church Commissioners five years to decide what to do with the building, but they agreed that in that period the village could make use of the premises. A decision was taken by the village to form a Community Centre Committee and this was led by Peter Beaver as Chairman. Gloria Whight as Secretary (Dennis Whight later took over this post) and Ambler Tillotson as Treasurer.
Work parties were organised and the premises were given a thorough clean. The need for this can be illustrated by the fact that when the coconut matting was lifted from the main classroom the newspaper underneath was found to be dated 1936.
Two major decisions were taken. Gloria Whight and Jill Yell started a Nursery and appointed Barbara Steen to run it. A Youth Club was then instituted with the help of Uppingham Village College’s community programme.
In 1977 Wing Village honoured the Queen’s Jubilee by an extensive programme of activities including sporting events on the recreation ground, a street party and an evening of song and dance in the then Home Farm Barns. An Illuminated Message was sent to Buckingham Palace headed by a representation of Wing Maze and with the following wording:
The Turf Maze at Wing in Rutland
TO OUR GRACIOUS MAJESTY
QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Your Majesty. We your loyal subjects of
the village of Wing in Rutland send you
our heartiest congratulations for your Silver
Jubilee and our sincere thanks for the 25
years of devoted service by you for the benefit
of your people in the united kingdom and
God bless Your Majesty: long may you reign
On behalf of the people of Wing in Rutland,
I am your most humble servant,
Jack Fairburn Vesty
Chairman, Wing Parish Council
Two of our village youngsters, Angela Gregg and Nigel Adcock, dressed all in white sports gear and wearing red, white and blue body sashes carried a torch from Wing to the top of the hill in Bradgate Park, Leicester where a beacon was lit in further commemoration of the Jubilee and as a link with beacons all over the country.
Such was the success of these activities & the considerable boost that it gave to the life of the community that a decision was taken by the Committee to negotiate the purchase of the old school premises. The Committee was helped by the fact that £269 surplus from the Jubilee celebrations was entrusted to it to promote future fund-raising activities. The Church Authorities agreed to sell the premises and further agreed to their continued use by the village whilst negotiations proceeded. With grants promised from District and County Councils the village financial contribution was set at £10,000. On the advice of Mike Holmes, PR for Walkers Crisps, who was living in the village at the time the Committee planned a week of events in July as the main fund-raising venture. These events included an inaugural Church Service, a Sponsored Run, a Musical Evening in the Church, a Concert in the School, a Medieval Banquet at which 147 people enjoyed nine courses with appropriate liquid refreshments and a folk music group entertainment in a double marquee on the nearby field, and a Caribbean Evening with a Steel Band from Birmingham held at the Uppingham Community College because of inclement weather. The week was a magnificent success raising £8,500 towards our share of the purchase. All subsequent negotiations went well and the School was handed over to the village in the autumn.
During the late 1990’s the Community Centre Committee decided that the time had come for an update to the premises. Application was made to the Millenium Committee for this to be accepted as one of their village projects, but first the management of the Village Hall had to be undertaken by the Parish Council as it was a registered Charity. This was duly effected but the responsibility for the contracts and work remained with the original committee. Throughout 1997 and 1998 work parties carried out major redecoration works in the old school hall, the false ceiling was removed, the wooden beams were shot-blasted and the original Peterborough bricks at the East end wall were revealed and saved to view. J.S. Clark of Oakham obtained the contract and commenced work in the autumn of 1997. Major alterations were effected including a new kitchen, new toilets with showers, alterations to a stage area and committee rooms. Money raising began again in earnest, grants were obtained, but the funds nearing the time for handover were £20,000 short. Loans were obtained from within the village so that the deadline could be honoured or the millennium money would have been lost, but in the event these were returned as the Community Centre Chairman negotiated a second substantial gift from Anglia Water (at the time they were making major extensions to the retreatment works) and the Millenium Commission reimbursed us for the cost of internal decorations and outside landscaping. Work was completed, final bills paid and the Official Opening of the new Village Hall took place on 12th September 1998.
As we all know the end result is a Village Hall fit for the 21st century and a genuine asset to our village community. A considerable and lasting debt is owed by the village to all those villagers who contributed in so many ways to this excellent community achievement.