Bradford on Avon hall the better for refit

Wiltshire Times: Jenny Prall, Penny Hopgood, Marion East, Dee Phesse, Ros Stoddard, Sian Penlington, Helen Hobson and Celia Feane Jenny Prall, Penny Hopgood, Marion East, Dee Phesse, Ros Stoddard, Sian Penlington, Helen Hobson and Celia Feane

Community groups are eager to return to the newly refurbished St Margaret’s Hall in Bradford on Avon after having to find alternative venues for the past year.

The hall opened to the public yesterday, 11 months after work started to replace the roof, provide suitable access at the front of the building for the disabled, bring in retractable seating and remove the stage to provide a mezzanine and office space.

Dance Fitness, which had to relocate to Mount Pleasant Centre for the year, was the first group to benefit from the refurbishment when classes started again yesterday.

Debbie Bailey, who runs the group with Gina Fry, said: “It was originally a busy class of 30-40 people but Mount Pleasant could only hold 15-20 people, so we hope to welcome back customers we had to lose due to lack of space.”

Bradford on Avon Film Society has spent the past year at the Wiltshire Music Centre in the town but its new programme, running from September to April, will see them back in the hall.

On Sunday Mayor John Potter will use the refurbished hall for the first time for his annual Tea Party, which raises money for Save the Children.

New community dance group Dance Circle, created by experienced dancer and community musician Sian Penlington, will be teaching some simple May dances at the tea party.

Miss Penlington said: “It’s a great May tradition in England and it will be fun to lead people in some simple dancing so that everyone can join in.”

The dance group meets every Wednesday from 10- 11.30am on the top floor of the Guides HQ in Church Street to practice a mix of sacred and secular dances from around the world.

Miss Penlington said: “You need no experience and no special outfit. People can just pop in and enjoying taking part.

“We do a range of traditional and contemporary dances from around the world, mostly done in a circle, so you don’t have to worry about having a partner or treading on anyone’s toes.

“We are a small group and dance just for fun so it is not about reaching a level of performance.

“It is just a chance to enjoy dancing and the music and to be a bit active.”

For more information on Dance Circle, go to www. dance-circle.org/dance-circle-groups and for Sing Alive go to www.singalive.org

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