“For some people the
project started when we began raising money five years ago, for
others when building began nine months ago, but for me, it starts
now. This project is not about bricks and mortar, but what happens
inside now and in the future.”
That's a quote from
Huw Edwards, Chair of the Myland Parish Halls Modernisation
Project, at the official opening of the newly-modernised Halls on
Saturday 30th January 2010. So we celebrated a start as well as a
finish - and so this page is the last Progress Report on the
Modernisation Project, and the first of the (no doubt many!)
reports of events in the new Myland Parish Halls.
We are pleased to
bring you some photographs of the day, courtesy of Jamil Shehadeh,
our official photographer for the day.
All was ready by
lunchtime on Saturday 30th January, as the light streamed into the
Large Hall on a brilliantly sunny day. Preparations for the day had
taken many weeks - invitations were sent out even before many
arrangements were made, but so many people came to help that it made
all the late nights and paperwork really worth it!
In the few moments
before the doors opened, there was time to take a closer look at the
exhibits around the hall, such as the original Log Book with entries
on the first day of the Halls' operation as Myland School, 139 years
ago to the day.
The staff of PJB
Chartered Architects Ltd stand in the centre, with local historians
Mick Brown and Patrick Mills poring over old documents and
Meanwhile, in the
Small Hall, the sunlight drew pretty patterns on the walls and
heated floor, as entertainer Barrie James made preparations for his
part in our big day.
He may have been
engaged as a children's entertainer, just in case the other
festivities became boring for our young ones - but at times he was
surrounded by more adults than children, even though the events in
other parts of the building captured the interest of old and young
Did he enjoy it too,
or is he just a generous chap? He stayed far longer, and did far
more, than we planned or could have hoped for! It was good to see
him - see him again at
We can also see members of Mile End
Women's Institute, deep in conversation - no doubt planning
their part in the day.
And here are some of
the members of Mile End Women's Institute, who readily offered (we
didn't even need to ask!) to make and serve all the refreshments on
They're pictured in
the Halls kitchen - it wasn't envisaged that eight people work there
at once, but the photograph shows that's perfectly possible,
especially when those people get on very well!
With over 300 people
in the building between 2pm and 4pm, they must have served hundreds
of cups of tea & coffee, as well as predictably delectable cakes!
Here's the proof -
just one groaning tableful of cakes, which were efficiently
replenished as soon as the table emptied. Which was often!
The fridge-freezer was
put to good use on Saturday. Did the dishwasher work hard - as hard
as did the ladies from the Women's Institute - or was all the
washing up done by hand?
There was a special
cake baked for the occasion, too, complete with the Halls' own logo
on the front. The afternoon was so busy that we didn't manage to cut
the cake, so we saved it for the Fish and Chip Supper in the
evening. Remember when we closed, and had a Fish & Chip Supper?
Well, we thought it would be a good way to close the opening day,
too! It was a packed evening of food, laughter and games -
piece of Myland Parish Halls fruit cake at the very end.
arrived, and the Halls filled with people very quickly indeed. 235
people signed in on the day; some signed in on behalf of families,
and some couldn't get near the reception desk to sign in at all! So
we're certain that there were over 300 people present.
We were delighted to
welcome a number of distinguished guests, including many who had
supported the Project for many years. Of course, there were those
who were unable to be with us and sent their apologies and good
wishes: among them were our Case Officers from the Big Lottery
Fund's Community Building Programme, Sarah Hanson and Scott Hignett.
Very soon, the Large
Hall was so packed that we were rubbing shoulders with hundreds of
old and new friends, including Colchester's MP Bob Russell, himself
a proud Mile End lad and long-serving member of 1st Colchester (St
Michael's) Scouts. Bob has supported this project from the
beginning, and is as pleased as the rest of us to see the new
facilities now in use.
There were so many
people around on the day that the Project Board and Parochial Church
Council of St. Michael's (the halls' owners) were unable to speak
with everyone - so if we missed you, can we say through this page
that we truly value your support, and were delighted to see you on
As the clock on the
wall in the welcome area reached 2:30pm, Revd Ray Gibbs,
Priest-in-Charge in the Parish of Myland, rose to welcome everyone
to the event.
The five years of the
Project have coincided with Ray's five years with us; yet he would
be the first to pay tribute to predecessors who have had the vision
for redeveloping the Halls. Those include Revd Geoff Catchpole,
Rector until 2007, who attended the opening - and Revd Canon John
Blore, who preceded Geoff and also attended.
Churchwardens were also pleased to welcome them - including Andy
Ayton, who was Chairman of the Buildings Committee when the first
plans were drawn up for the modernisation.
A few moments later,
it was time for Huw Edwards, who chaired the Modernisation Project
Board from its inception at the start of 2008, to make his speech.
"Today is not a day
for speeches", he began, "It is a day for celebrations". And so his
speech lasted just two minutes, and ended with the cutting of the
tape by Natasha Richardson and Samuel Thomas.
Samuel and Natasha,
members of the uniformed organisations which meet in the Halls,
entered and won the ballot on our website for the privilege of
cutting the tape. There were just so many worthy supporters,
benefactors and influential people who deserved to be the one to cut
the tape, but getting Samuel and Natasha to do it just seemed the
right thing to do. After all, the Hall is for all!
we see our two tape-cutters, posed by our local press photographer,
and flanked by Denise Buckley and Huw Edwards.
Denise, a member of
the Project Board, has been responsible for liaison with User
Organisations during the Project, as well as for a wide range of
tasks including all the planning for the Grand Opening - even the
commissioning of commemorative mugs, which were presented to Natasha
and Samuel - and every one of them was sold on the day!
Cutting the tape was
the signal for everyone to tour the Halls, including the Board Room
- a quieter environment where conversation could be enjoyed.
certainly being had in the Small Hall, where Barrie James was in
full swing, for those children and grown-ups who'd had their fill of
tea and cakes; but here was plenty of activity elsewhere in the
Halls, notably around Eric Day, our Bookings Manager, who could be
seen surrounded by a number of people enquiring about booking the
If you'd like to chat
to him about meetings for a local Organisation or perhaps a
children's party, you can reach him on the telephone number at the
top of this - and every - page of the website.
Jamil also took many
photos of people we were delighted to see - some posed, some in
action - let's see a few.
This is Esther Wilde.
Esther is the Church's Volunteer Co-ordinator, and is heavily
involved in a number of Organisations which meet in the Halls.
seems to have been moving too fast for a good photograph, but here
we see her enjoying the display of the Hall's history.
John Wilde, her
husband, is Treasurer of the Parochial Church Council and also a
member of the Modernisation Project Board, and kept track of the
finances throughout the Project - and continues to do so, as a
member of the Halls Management Team. We thank John and Esther for
all their hard work, always done with commitment and joy.
Bob Russell MP and Huw
Edwards are clearly engrossed
in a moment from
.... and then with
Mick Brown, both proudly remembering
their involvement with
previous events at the halls.
We were delighted to
welcome Cllr Elizabeth Hart, Chairman
of Essex County
Council to the event. The Council have
support, through the Community Initiatives Fund and the Essex
County Council Millennium Fund.
Here's a happy group -
and no wonder! It's the management
team from Rose
Builders Ltd, the Project's main Contractor.
Left to right: Sam
Brown, John Woods, Dave Amey,
Stephen Rose and Phil
On each side of Revd
John Chandler, Project Board member, are two honoured guests: Rt
Revd Christopher Morgan,
Bishop of Colchester,
and Revd Canon Jon Blore, Rector of Myland until 2000.
Here's John again,
this time in happy conversation with
Huw Edwards and an
even happier Revd Ray Gibbs,
who has every right to
enjoy the moment, after carrying
responsibility of the
We were delighted to
see these two people at the Grand Opening - Keith Rush, representing
PJB Chartered Architects Ltd - and David Young, Head Teacher at
Myland Primary School. We wonder what David would have thought of
the Halls, had he been Head Teacher on 30th January 1871!
Now a couple of photos
taken at the Fish and Chip Supper.
Here is a happy crew,
having won the table quiz, and
sporting Big Lottery
Fund T-shirts - well, that's one way o
celebrating long after
the day is over! But we're sure that
continue, each time the Halls are used.
John and Esther Wilde
look on, as Revd John Chandler
accepts the task of
cutting the celebratory cake -
an act of demolition,
at the very end of the construction
of the new Halls!
But here's the photo
the Board wanted to see - a happy end
to the Project. The
five Board members - John Wilde, John
Buckley, Ray Gibbs and Huw Edwards -
Huw Edwards appears to
be choosing his words carefully,
but see how enthralled
are his hearers! Huw, a hugely experienced Project Manager, must be
used to that!
And this lady would
win the prize for the happiest face!
Denise Buckley, as
well as all the Project Board and so many
Myland residents, saw
dreams come true on 30th January.
Now is the time for
those dreams to become reality.
Let's use Myland
Parish Halls to develop community,
and enjoy being the
community of Myland.
Return to the Progress Page