TOM TURNBULL WAS A LIVING LEGEND in our community for four-score years and more. Part of the legacy he left after his death in 2019 was a rejuvenated Crookham Village Hall (CVH) which began under his chairmanship and continues to this day.
Workhorses like Tom are the lifeblood of communities great and small; he took the chairmanship of a failing hall in the latter half of the last century and kept it ticking over until the village expanded with new houses and new faces and the incomer-inspired renaissance began.
The results were steady but spectacular: disabled access including ramps and a bright new unisex loo, a modern industrial kitchen, double-glazed windows, improved roof insulation and overhead heaters, a multi-fuel stove, telephone and full WiFi. . . the improvements were endless.
A succession of two-year chairpersons carried on the good work as Tom took a step back to become an enthusiastic user and life president of CVH. Now, the last and biggest portion of the hall’s rejuvenation is complete: a ramshackle side hall, long ago put off-limits because it listed dangerously and leaked like a sieve, has been demolished and in its place has arisen the new crowning glory of CCVH.
The Tom Turnbull Room, named after the great man, is his monument: bright. modern, well-heated and accessible to all with its own coffee/tea station, plentiful storage space and independent toilet facilities, this smaller hall offers the perfect space for small-scale meetings of CVH’s many clubs – gardening, book club, art group, knit and natter and so forth – as well as the perfect size to be hired for meetings of the parish council, Till Valley Archaeological Society and for small, private receptions or business meetings.
Improvements like this don’t just happen overnight; through the years, enormous hard work and fund-raising was undertaken cheerfully by itsusers and we received generous donations from individuals – I particularly recall a cheque amounting to some thousands of pounds handed over when I was vice-chairman as a parting gift from the much-loved and missed John and Jan Benn.
The dream was kept alive by chairmen including the late Dave Moore, but credit for finding funding for the greater part of the £100,000-plus bill goes to former chairman and ‘Fundfinder General’ Mike Keating, who persuaded the following organisations to provide help and cash grants:
Community Action Northumberland (special thanks to Louise Currie);
National Lottery Community Fund;
ACRE Village Hall Improvement Grant;
Garfield Weston Foundation;
Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation;
Trust House Charitable Foundation;
Sir James Knott Trust
You will see from the tribute to Tom Turnbull (below) that we are open for inspection (and a village hall ‘cuppa’) after Tom’s widow Eileen has cut the ribbon on Saturday, September 25th between 1pm and 4pm. Do join us. . . it’s an amazing transformation!