THE village of Eastham has taken another step towards a return to something like normal.

Villagers have been busy planting flowers outside the new memorial hall.

It is another step in the recovery of the village and comes almost exactly five years after the collapse of the Eastham Bridge, that fell into the River Teme on a May afternoon just seconds after a mini bus bringing children back to the village from school in Lindridge had crossed.

This led to a year of misery in which children had to take a detour via Tenbury to get to school.

Original plans to replace the old listed bridge with a similar design were abandoned and a new bridge was opened in spring 2017.

At the same time the village was facing the need to replace its much loved but ageing memorial hall.

The 1922 Boulton and Paul building was made in flat packs in Norwich and brought to Newnham Bridge railway station by train.

It was then taken to Eastham by horse and cart.

The old building lacked facilities and was becoming expensive to run and maintain.

There were hopes to build a replacement and this was made possible through a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund of £260,000.

The New Hall project was undertaken by Iris Construction Projects Ltd who are a local firm of long standing.

It was led by managing director Peter Hogan.

Chris Ham, of Amber Projects, oversaw the project on behalf of the Eastham Memorial Hall Trustees with the local community providing certificates throughout each stage of the building project in line with the requirements of The National Lottery.

There had been hopes that it would be completed by the end of 2020.

However, this slipped into the early part of this year, but this did not really matter because the Covid-19 restrictions meant that it would not have been able to be used.

At the time of the building, a time capsule was planted to show future generations what life was like in 2020.

It was buried within the foundations so is unlikely to be recovered until a new hall is needed.

Now Eastham not only has a new memorial hall to go with its bridge but also flowers that will bring colour and fragrance to the village.

The hall was used as a polling station for the May elections and is now starting to return to use with a busy programme of activities planned and can be hired for events.