Wednesday, 22 June 2016

British Empire Medal for services to Natland

Ray Richardson, our recently retired Chairman of the Village Hall Committee, is to receive a British Empire Medal for his services to the community in Natland. He recently received a letter from the Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria to that effect, and expects to be presented with the medal shortly. Ray proclaimed himself to be really chuffed.
Ray chaired the Village Hall Committee for twenty six years, with good humour and admirable brevity of meetings. His most demanding time was when he organised the building of the big hall. He had heard that a millenium grant was available for village halls and after a meeting with around 100 local people, nearly all of whom were in support of the idea, he went ahead and applied for the grant and for planning permission. Both were granted but the millenium fund grant had to be matched to the tune of £38,000. Many local organisations were contacted, hall users raised funds, and eventually the money came together. Russell Armer did the work at cost but it was rather a shock to find at the end that there was a £9,000 shortfall. Ray asked for interest free loans from village hall users and was glad to be able to repay them in two years.
The Village Hall has been used by many clubs over the years and it is good to think that so many people's lives have been enriched as a result, and as a result of Ray's commitment, though he says he was glad to find a successor in Paul Want, the new Chairman.