“NOW Cheriton Bishop will have to stage a panto” was the comment from several people at the official opening of the new and improved Village Hall after the disaster of the fire in September 2022. 

One woman said she’d never been warm enough in Cheriton hall in the winter to need to take her coat off, she was this time.  The hall’s new look was well admired.

There is new LED automatic lighting outside, the ceiling sound proofed so the sound is much better, new lights inside with low energy lights all the way through and new thermostatically controlled electric heating.  

The kitchen, re-fitted not long before the fire, was not so affected but does have a new floor.   There is a new stage, the main floor is 22 ml thick solid maple on one inch thick marine ply.

There is a huge drop-down screen over the stage as part of the audio visual system.  This was showing photos of the fire and the rebuild all afternoon. 

Toilets were rebuilt but replacing these is on the Village Hall Committee’s to-do wish list.  

Ladies of the village had been busy baking to provide refreshments, served mainly by committee members, Elaine Clark and Sally Burton with helpers. 

Also on the committee are Dennis Milton, David Tripp, chairman Jon Whitehead and treasurer Peter O’Neill.    

Among the special guests were Colin Wooding, Chartered Building Surveyor of Croft Surveyors Ltd of Exeter.  He was brought in to sort out problems with the insurance because the insurance company had said the building was under-insured.

There was also David Westell from Plymouth who did the painting for DNH Contractors from Plymouth.   

Jon Whitehead thanked them at the opening ceremony, also the current and past Village Hall Committee members, particularly Bill and Janet Jeffery.  

Their grandaughters helped with the ceremony, cutting the ribbon across the main door.   They are Emily and Evie Jeffery with their friend Emilia Downes.

Jon explained that because of the way the wind was blowing on the day of the fire, the doctors’ surgery abutting the Village Hall was not impacted at all apart from losing some of its parking space to contractors’ vehicles while work was going on. 

The Hall was opened in 1930, a day of such great celebration that people walked over even from Drewsteignton, many having first done the milking and then walked home at the end to milk the cows again.  

The hall is available for functions.  For enquires about booking please contact Peter O'Neill on 01647 24369 or email: [email protected] .