Gallery - Pakenham Village Hall - remembered

Pakenham Village Hall remembered
Pakenham Village Hall - 7th November 2002

Well lots of things have happened since we have been away. Pakenham village hall is, as I write, being pulled down. Poor old place, we wondered what would happen first, would it fall of its own accord, or would someone lean on it and it would tumble? What a marvelous old place it has been. The fun and laughter, the shouts of joy, the tears and the tumbles, the pantos, the plays and the parties, the dances and the discos, the weddings and the wakes, all have emanated from our lovely old hall.

A passer-by at a cursory glance would see, in its later days, a ramshackle, tumbledown old place, but to us, we would see a palace of festivity, the centre of our little world of Pakenham. Remember the night when Rabbit Peck fell through the floor? The smoke filled Bingo nights, when poor old Arthur King couldn't call the numbers for coughing? We always thought Arthur was going to die from coughing himself to death on a bingo night, but then they banned smoking in the hall, and he died in the pub instead! The quietness and concentration of the Whist Drive, when suddenly at a single command, a movement of chairs, a shuffling of feet, and the players would rotate to their next position. Remember Derek Wales children's parties?

Years later, those huge Christmas parties, where all the parents brought the food, Annie Rose organised the presents, Ian Hooper was Father Christmas, Eddie Dyer was Big Ears, Max was Noddy, Jan did all the work and everybody had a great time.

The pantomimes; first night nerves, the total fear of going out on stage, forgetting your lines, the relief of laughter, the exhilaration of applause, the rush to change scenes, change costumes. The rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals, the planning, the lights, the corny gags, the front of house, the scenery painted. From the first by Pauline Freeman to Frances Brown & Theresa Godwin on to Barbara Westgate and Denise Ashley, the successes remain legend, as do the performers.

The concert party, the Harvest supper, Fred and Brenda Clarke, 120 people seated, Brenda ran it like a military operation. Jan Bacon followed on to cater for a packed hall. Barbara Beevor, Frances Brown, food for all Jumble sales, W.I., Mothers Union, art club. Talks, arguments, meetings, Royal British Legion tea, Jim Palfry taking the salute, all memories, all gone, wonderful memories, we will always remember you, you wonderful old hall.

Rest in peace.

by Max Bacon - 16.02.2003