Having provided the community of Collaton St Mary with a functional village hall for nearly 100 years, a re-roofing project was desperately needed to ensure that the building could remain open, and safely continue to provide facilities for the Playgroup, Toddler Group and various recreational, educational, health and fitness, horticultural and community programmes for ages 0 – 90 years, in addition to private receptions and parties, and still remain in the heart of the village.

Following a survey by Sylvia Bevis and members of Devon Bat Group, on behalf of Natural England, it was confirmed that the roof was being used as a bat roost by Brown Long-Eared and Pipistrelle bats, and hence any work could only be undertaken with caution, between October and May.

Commencing in October 2009, fund raising events were held regularly, funding grants sought, and local people and businesses kindly donated, which finally enabled work to begin in early April 2011.   

Unfortunately once the scaffolding was erected, it was discovered that, due to the age of the building, the first floor windows required steel arch supports and the eaves painting, so news of another grant was received with great relief.

The project enjoyed perfect weather conditions, (although a necessity for sun-block and lots of ice-creams!), but also the discovery of an early visitor – a long-eared bat, who was safely released later. Over 6,000 new slates were used and most of the old slates recycled, with thanks to Kenmart Ltd, Bovey Tracey.

Playgroup was extremely patient, but obviously restricted for outside play, but the workmen kindly took a break, to allow the important occasion of a Royal Wedding Street Party to take place.

Finally the last of the scaffolding was removed, revealing a resplendent building, ready to serve the community.

On Saturday 11 June 2011, a “Thank you” Coffee Morning was held, which gave the Trustees and Committee an opportunity to thank all those who had supported the project and the workmen involved.   Committee member, Michann Stacey, kindly made a delicious and wonderfully decorated “Roof Cake”, sadly all that is left are the photographs

Grants were received from:

  • The Big Lottery Fund – Awards for All
  • The Co-operative Membership Community Fund
  • The Lewis Trust
  • The Norman Family Charitable Trust
  • Pennon Group
  • The Wakefield Trust

Among the donations received:

  • Devon Magic Circle
  • Glendevon Furnishers
  • Kents Cavern
  • T & I Stockman Limited
  • K J Thurborn
  • Town Park Fishing

The works was undertaken by:

  •  Pete Sheppard – Builder
  •  Dave Wilkins – Roofing Specialist
  •  Rob Swanton and Ben Rossister (Apprentices)
  •  Paul Emmins – Painter
  •  Nick Allday – Fabricator
  •  Julian Heather – Bay Scaffolding

The Trustees and Committee wish to thank most sincerely, everyone who has so very kindly donated, supported the fund-raising events and worked on this project, which now stands to enhance and benefit the community for many decades to come.