Duke of Gloucester coming to open Eastrea village hall

The Duke of Gloucester
The Duke of Gloucester
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Huge crowds are expected when a member of royalty opens a village hall in Eastrea this month - over 60 years after plans for the building were first mooted.

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, will open the new Eastrea Centre in Coates Road on July 17 and an afternoon of celebrations has been lined up for the occasion.

The Eastrea Village Committee has spent more than 20 years raising £860,000 for the building, which was first discussed by their predecessors way back in 1945.

Professor Brian Ford, chairman of the Eastrea Village Committee, said: “Eastrea has never had a village hall and I’m really proud that I’ve achieved my mission of changing all that.

“When I first moved to the village 25 years ago and joined the committee it was one of the first things that was talked about.

“Incredibly the idea had first been discussed back in 1945 when donations of £1 were being asked for but after that it hit the buffers.

“We agreed that we would go for and we have overcome many obstacles to get the hall built. We’ve secured numerous grants and held fund raisers, it’s been a long, difficult journey, but we’ve made it.”

Prof Ford added that the new hall has a “modern, digital” design and that there had already been strong interest from community groups about using the facility.

He said: “It has been designed for the digital age, I’m so proud of how it looks - there are no cables anywhere in the building.

“It has a spacious main hall which is about 70 foot long, numerous digital facilities and looks very impressive.

“We have already had inquires from a nursery school, Taekwondo classes, art workshops and slimming groups about using the hall, it’s an exciting time for the village.”

Prof Smith added: “This will be the first royal visit to Eastrea and I’m very excited about the whole day.

“There will something for everybody - entertainment, live music, refreshments and games.”

The event will start at 11.45am and is expected to last until 2.30pm admission is free, all are welcome.