When the Community Centre opened on 10th January 1959 there were few to rival it in our region.
For 64 years the Centre has served people from the ages of 0 to 90 and beyond.
It would be impossible to count the number of parties, games of Bingo and Whist which have been played there over the last 64 years, we are proud to say that despite achieving over half a century of service, it continues to be an important part of the community.
Our patrons are key to making the Community Centre what it is and we are forever indebted to them. The Parish Council would like to thank all those who frequent this wonderful community asset.
The Community Centre is constantly being updated and in 2021 a large project was undertaken to replace the roof. The original tin roof had come to the end of its lifespan and has now been replaced by traditional tiles. The works were extensive with cladding being added to the exterior of the building. The floor-to-ceiling windows in the Marjorie Lewis Hall were removed with half a wall being built and windows installed, this makes it much more energy efficient.
The mechanical and electrical components were also updated during the project which saw a new central heating system being installed along with the electrical system. To help reduce our carbon footprint we installed solar panels which will cut our electricity costs for decades to come.
The first wedding held at the Community Centre
The earliest wedding reception we know of at the Centre was that of Margaret Francis and her husband Gerry in 1961. Margaret lived with her family on Middletons Lane and her garden backed onto the recreation ground, which, at that time, was a cornfield. In the summer months Margaret can remember playing on the hay stacks.
The couple’s reception took place in The Marjorie Lewis hall at the Community Centre. Of course this was before the extension was built, so the building was considerably smaller. Margaret had her pictures taken outside the front doors.
During the Second World War, Hellesdon was home to some Italian POW’s, many of whom never wanted to fight anyway. Margaret’s parents befriended a young Italian man, when Margaret was just a toddler. In 1999 Margaret and her family flew to Italy for a reunion with that POW and to attend his grandson’s wedding. It is lovely that they have remained in contact all these years.
During the summer of 2023, the Community Centre was featured in an episode of Long Lost Families, where ex-Hellesdon resident Diane reminisced about her time attending the local disco in the 60’s. It was a fantastic outcome for her as she was finally reunited with a long-lost family member.
It is a testament to the building that even after 64 years people still use the Centre for their special events.