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Hall restoration is pointing in right direction

Project manager Bruce Jenkins puts the final touches to the weather vane at Vicarage Park Community Centre
Project manager Bruce Jenkins puts the final touches to the weather vane at Vicarage Park Community Centre
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A historic weather vane is once more standing proudly atop a Poulton landmark after being restored.

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The medieval style pointer was taken down from Vicarage Park Community Centre as part of a £150,000 refurbishment project.

The restored weather vane

The restored weather vane

After being on the building for more than 90 years, it had a broken finial, and had lost its arrowhead pointer and one of its compass points.

The work which included restoring the pennant flag, fitting a replacement arrowhead pointer and a new ball finial was undertaken free of charge by Blackpool craftsman Earl Felton of FDC Felton Ltd.

The repair of the weather vane is part of an ambitious refurbishment of the former St Chad’s Church Hall in time for a planned re-opening in July.

Chris Gannon, one of the Vicarage Park Community Centre trustees, said: “For some months now we have been working on repairing and restoring the fabric of the building both inside and out to ensure the building is safe and fit for purpose.

Project manager Bruce Jenkins with chairman Alastair Thomas and trustee Chris Gannon.

Project manager Bruce Jenkins with chairman Alastair Thomas and trustee Chris Gannon.

“Much of this has been achieved by our volunteers, supporters and local businesses donating their own time, materials and services.

“Without their help, and donations from local benefactors it is unlikely the charity would have been able to complete the work on time and to our limited budget, so we intend to acknowledge this as part of our opening celebrations.”

Work is almost complete on the exterior of the hall including a new pebble dash render and new rainwater gutters fitted.

The render will be painted to match the original finish, before the scaffolding is removed.

Interior work will see new electrical, gas and water services connected and toilets and a kitchen installed.

The former St Chad’s Church Hall was ruled structurally unsound in 2013.

It had been earmarked for demolition in 2009 but plans to replace it with a medical centre were thrown out.

In January 2014 the VPCC (Vicarage Park Community Centre) was formed as a charitable trust to take over management of the hall. Following two substantial donations from local benefactors sufficient funds were in place to start work.

This will also include an improved sound and lighting system, while the original sprung dance floor will be sanded down and varnished. Groups including the Chaddeans Theatre Group hope to return to the hall.