It all began 25 years ago
Below is an extract from the Ampthill News from 1969…
Villagers at Flitton & Greenfield started collecting for a new village hall 25 years ago and on Saturday they saw it being officially opened.
The opener was Mr John Shine, a member of the building committee, who said they had been collecting since the war, but there was a break in activities and the villagers started up the fund again only about two years ago.
The land for the hall was bought 20 years ago and until Easter when the building started, it was being used to grow rhubarb. The total cost of the Hall was £10,000 but the local authorities helped out and the villages had to raise only £5,000.
In the picture are left to right- Mr B Fossey, Mrs Davis (Chairman of the Management Committee) Mr & Mrs Shine
Mr. Shine said most of the money had been raised by sponsored walks, bazaars & barbecues. After the opening ceremony, there was a short concert by children and in the evening a dance was held.
This was an extract from the Ampthill News and Flitwick Record published on Tuesday, September 16th 1969, after the hall had been opened on Saturday 13th.
We know from local residents that many of the residents of Flitton, Greenfield & Wardhedges actually helped with the construction of the hall, in terms of getting the land ready and laying the base where the hall still sits to this very day. Many are still living within the local area. The architect was a Mr Ray Walker of Greenfield. Unfortunately as time goes on residents pass on or move out of the area, therefore we are limited with the information we do have. However we have found a few snippets of information that are true to the best of our knowledge!
The land was purchased from the council in around 1951 where the Trust Deed for the hall was formed and signed by Mr. Eric Roberts of Wardhedges. Many members of the local community formed the management committee, whose occupations ranged from a retired milkman to a market gardener, butcher to a retired police officer. It is fair to say it was a real village effort to get the hall off the ground with an unbelievable amount of fundraising, from the Gala (which still runs today) to dances & Totes. We know Dorie Fowler who was the caretaker of the hall for many, many years used to walk around the village, with others knocking doors for the Tote which was run for a number years around the village.
There are so many names that have been mentioned with regards to the village hall that it would be hard to mention them all. Over the years the hall has been transformed into what we see today. A local man, Mr. Pyper donated money to the hall to construct a bar. This was known as Pypers Bar. Past memories recall Ken & Annie Gibson running the bar, with all profits donated to the village hall.
MORE NEWS JUST IN…………………….
With special thanks to David & Sonia Evans, former owners of Puzzles Farm Shop in Greenfield we have some more information with regards to the Hall & Bar.
As previously mentioned Mr. Pyper donated money for the refurbishment of the Bar. It has come to light that this was just a loan.
The Bar was originally located in a cupboard in the hall where the Disabled Toilet is now situated. For those that pay attention when they go into the hall, they will notice there are 2 doors at the rear of the hall that resemble a serving hatch. This is where the Bar used to be.
Sonia’s mother & father, Elsie & Bill (aka Button) Carr took over the running of the Bar. In 1976 they successfully applied for a ‘on’ licence for the sale of drink. The Village Hall was the first bar in the area to have this. Please see the article below.
They paid to equip the bar out of their own pocket, and ran monthly dances with Live bands, and Friday night bingos plus other fundraising events to pay back the loan. Sonia’s mother also donated the Glitter Ball that is located in the centre of the hall. We are pleased to say that the Ball is still there to this day and fully operational.
The dance’s were very much a Village Highlight with balloon’s in a net on the ceiling. Sonia’s daughters have happy memories of helping their grandparents bottle up on a Saturday morning for ‘ Crunchies and a bottle of coke’
When they closed the shutters they always joined in for a dance and to sell tickets for the next month’s dance.
Below are further happy photo’s supplied by David & Sonia.
A sign made for Button which hung behind the bar.
Button & @Elsie enjoying themselves