A SPECIAL guest presented a cheque to held refurbish a village hall which was once her school.

After ten years of saving and fundraising, work began in March this year as part of a £200,000 revamp on Thurloxton Village Hall

Betty Thorne Aubury, one of 12 children, once attended school at what is now the village hall. As a special birthday gift, her daughter wanted to ensure Betty was part of the hall’s lasting legacy.

Cheryl Aubury Renton spent many years visiting her grandparents Harold and Dorathy Thorne in Thurloxton and wanted to do something special for her mum’s 80th birthday.

She said: “My dad celebrated his 80th last year, and I wanted to do something different for Mum.

“I found out that the school she and her siblings attended had been turned into a village hall.

"I checked out its website and thought that would be an ideal place to hold her party.

“But when I enquired, I discovered the hall was being redeveloped and would be under construction on the day of the party on July 27.

“I became interested in the restoration project and joined Thurloxton Residents’ Facebook page to keep up to date on how the redevelopment was progressing.

“I then had an idea. Mum has all she needs, so I thought it might be a lovely and legacy to give a donation to the hall from her family and friends instead of everyone bringing gifts.

“So, I set up a donations Justgiving page, and so far, we’ve raised £720.”

Betty was unaware of her daughter’s plans, and was surprised with the cheque at her party at the end of July.

Ms Aubury Renton added: “I visited Thurloxton back in May and stopped by Andrew Quick and his partner Krystyna Bright’s with a view to staying at their Air B&B, Keirles Farm during the party.

“While discussing the search for a venue for the party, Krystyna agreed to host the party at the farm which was just perfect.

“Amazingly helpful, Krystyna organised the food, drink and made the special flower displays.”

The project will see the insulation and refurbishment of the main hall, demolition of the flat-roofed annexe and toilets, and its replacement under a pitched roof with a new and enlarged kitchen, and toilets suitable for general and disabled users as well as baby changing facilities. Wi-fi as well as a hearing loop and basic audio-visual equipment will also be installed.

Thurloxton Village Hall committee chairman, Alastair Wallace, said: “We are delighted to have Betty and her family return to the village for this auspicious occasion.

“Local villagers were invited to come out and celebrate the event with Betty and her family, some of whom were at school with the Thorne children.

“We’re very grateful for these funds and the opportunity to thank Betty, her family and friends in person for this very generous donation which will be incredibly useful to the refurbishment fund.”