A LONG-running project to replace a village hall with a community hub fit for the 21st century has been completed.

Villagers in Farndale have been raising funds to replace their village hall at Church Houses since 2005 when a building survey identified serious problems which were uneconomic to repair.

The new building has now been completed and will be officially opened on Saturday, May 25.

Chairman James Thurtell said: “The new building is the culmination of years of hard work, planning and fundraising by the committee, finally made possible by a generous grant from the Big Lottery, grants from other funders and donations from the community. Anyone with a connection to Farndale is welcome to the opening of the new hall.

“The formal opening ceremony will be at 2pm with events planned till the evening for our residents and supporters and others connected to Farndale.”

The keys to the village hall were handed over to Mr Thurtell, secretary Barry Sunley and trustee Gill Aconley last month by Tom Hilling, from the prime contractor Woodhouse Barry Construction of Sheriff Hutton.

Mr Thurtell added: “The new hall respects tradition, but is looking to the future with a design which resembles a traditional barn on the outside sitting well in its rural location, while the inside is a 21st century venue.

“The main hall is a welcoming, flexible space for many uses and will include a large screen, while the meeting room will host a community library. The building also includes eco features such as solar PV panels and rainwater harvesting.”

“The old village hall was a former World War Two wooden hut that had served the community for well over 60 years, which had become rather cold, draughty and uneconomic to repair.”

Forthcoming new activities in the hall will include yoga, keep fit, short mat bowls, courses on food hygiene, first aid, photography, as well as all our existing activities such as WI meetings, dominoes, film club, library, kids club, harvest supper and Christmas party.”