Official opening of Parochial Hall is here

The refurbished parochial hall in Kenilworth.
The refurbished parochial hall in Kenilworth.

THE NEWLY restored Parochial Hall will be officially opened on Friday June 17 by the Dowager Countess of Clarendon.

The event, which is by invitation only, will also be a celebration of the centenary of the laying of the hall’s foundation stone in 1911 by the 5th Earl of Clarendon.

The renovated hall in High Street will be opened by the wife of the seventh Earl.

An annual garden and street party will then be held on Saturday June 18, with the hall and the surrounding area being filled with stalls and games.

Then on Sunday June 19 a dedication service will be conducted at St Nicholas’ church.

Following this the congregation will be invited into the hall while the Rev Richard Awre blesses and dedicates it.

The building will be open all day after the service for people to view, then at 6.30pm that same day a Songs of Praise event will take place.

Heather Alford, who helped to restore the hall, said: “I’m very excited to see the vision we had be fulfilled.

“Our ambition has become a reality and we now want the entire community to enjoy and make use of the building.

“We are also just waiting to see if a grant from REN to pave the garden and its paths will be granted.”

After years of work and a total of £550,000 the building is now decorated with natural wood and colours which Andrew Overton, chairman of the hall’s working group, believes give the hall a sense of warmth and quality.

He said: “The front room, called the Elizabeth room, will be used as a conference room by small companies and can also be set up as a bar for weddings, which gives the hall a bit more useability.

“We have also managed to retain some of the original features, have an acoustic ceiling in Clarendon Hall, a full sound system and a full alcohol licence.”

Barbara Sidebottom, who has taught yoga at the hall for 48 years, said: “The whole place looks beautiful and I couldn’t be happier with it.

“I used to have to shout to be heard but now I just talk normally and everybody can hear me.

“It’s amazing the difference this refurbishment has made to the whole feel of the hall.”

Mr Overton added: “Now the restoration work is done it will be good to see the usage of the building grow.

“We’ve got lots of different groups back using the hall and we hope to book lots of events in now as well such as weddings, birthdays and other occasions.

“The money we make will be put back into the church and the community.”