Fenland village’s community spirit praised as MP reopens hall eight months after arson

AN MP praised a village’s community spirit when she reopened its hall which was heavily damaged by a burglary and arson attack.

Elizabeth Truss MP also reassured people that new night-time police patrol teams would work hard to crack down on crime in rural areas.

She was speaking at the official reopening of Three Holes Village Hall on Saturday, eight months after it was targeted by arsonists.

Mrs Truss said: “A tremendous amount of work has been done in getting this village hall back to its original use.

“It is so impressive to see how many people have come out today to celebrate the hall’s reopening and that shows the fantastic community spirit that exists here.

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“I have been so impressed to hear about how the village hall committee has worked hard and overcome all of the problems it has faced.

“However, the reason why we are here in the first place is that, despite all of the years that the hall has contributed to this village life, it was destroyed by an act of vandalism.

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“So I am very pleased to hear that, from January, there will be new night time patrol teams to operate in rural areas.”

The committee of Three Holes Village Hall has submitted a final claim to insurers of �180,000. The huge cost of the arson attack is not entirely covered by the insurance claim.

Many new features, costing around �15,000, are needed for the building to qualify for ongoing insurance cover. These include CCTV, sophisticated security alarms, reinforced doors and windows and higher specification fixtures, fittings and equipment.

The hall committee has also been faced with a loss of about �9,000 from regular and one-off hire.

A �15,000 loan has been taken out by the committee, which is organising a series of fund-raising events and appealing for help from businesses and individuals to pay this off.

Rita Cuss, the committee secretary, used the hall when it first opened in 1952 and fund-raised towards its original opening when she was a teenager.

She became 80 on Tuesday last week and her birthday was celebrated on Saturday at the hall reopening ceremony.

She said: “I am extremely pleased to see how many people have turned up today and am delighted with the way the building looks.

“I now hope that people take part in the fund-raising events and contribute towards paying off this loan.”

Events organised so far include a bingo on December 9 and a comedy night with Nigel Syer on January 21. Anyone able to offer support should contact Mrs Cuss on 01945 772236.

To book the hall for an event call Eddie and Carol Manning on 01945 773961.

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