Chapter 9:

           1969 opened with the prospect of building a hall now a very real one and more encouraging news was to come following the first meeting with Banbury, whose estimated cost for a suitable building was just less than 8,000. This, together with about 1,000 for fixtures and fittings would make the total cost would be 9,000, and allowing for a 50% grant from the education authority this meant that the committee would have to find 4,500, of which there was now 2,500 in hand. Still a long way to go but with a bit of extra effort the committee thought it possible. The decision was made to proceed and an application for planning permission was submitted.

          As part of the effort to raise these extra funds a weekly tote was introduced. Tickets were 1/- each and the prizes were 5 forward and 1 reverse, with an estimated profit of 8 per week, although there were to be a few teething troubles before the system worked smoothly. The first weekly draw took place on Tuesday March 18th with proceeds of 10/10/0d, but no correct numbers were drawn which meant there was no winner. At the following meeting the comment was made that if there was no winner the tote should be redrawn as there was the possibility of losing public support, however the decision was made to carry on as it was, there was no winner again this week. By the third week it was discovered that legally there had to be a winner and one was duly found on the third drawing. On one occasion it was to be re-drawn nine times before a winner was found.

          Other fund-raising ventures for the year included a concert by Hendy W.I., a treasure hunt, a sponsored walk, and the carnival, which was again preceeded by a Mr & Mrs competition to choose the Queens, there had been one unique suggestion made that as well as the usual Queens the committee should also choose a 'Fairy King', it's doubtful that this would go down very well with the young lads of today. The carnival took place on Saturday June 14th, led by the Pontardulais Town Band, and the overall proceeds of the event amounted to 75/11/7d. A family day, treasure hunt and picnic on the mountain was organised for Saturday 30th August, but this proved to be a complete failure as only nine cars took part, the proceeds being 3/18/0 of which 2 had to be returned in prize money. It is however, interesting to note that not all the business of the day was dealt with on a cash basis, as it is recorded that in connection with the above event 200 paper plates had been acquired in exchange for a bottle of whisky.

          Before the end of 1969 the committee was to hear from the C.I.S.W.O. that they were prepared to offer grant aid to the tune of 1,000, and the playing fields association had been approached who in turn were prepared to make a loan of 400, as long as the money was used for the provision of showers. The balance now stood at 3,248 plus the 1,000 grant so all in all the committee were now only 277 short of their target, a very rosy position indeed. Incidentally the tote during the year had added almost 240 to the funds.

          Early 1970 was to see a complete change of plans by the committee when they abandoned the Banbury building as being much too small, they had seen a Compton building which was much larger. The committee then visited St Ishmaels to view one such building but decided that although the building was larger the headroom was too low, so they were again to contact Banbury for an estimate on a larger building. The new plans were received and although the cost was considerably higher the decision was made to go ahead with the larger building.

          The new plans were submitted but planning permission was refused as the council thought that the siting would interfere with the proposed new road through the village, a road which incidentally never materialised, the hall would have to be turned to face the entrance if it was to be considered. With the new plans submitted, and the assurance that they would now be accepted, the application was officially made to the education authority for grant aid, and with the feeling that all their problems were now over an announcement was made that every effort was being made to have the hall erected and open before the end of the year.

          Any high spirits were soon to be dashed yet again with some very disturbing news from the C.I.S.W.O. that unless the hall was completed before December 24th they would withdraw their offer of grant aid. An almost impossible task lay ahead, it was now October, planning permission had not yet been officially received, the building had not yet been ordered, and if there was any further delay the committee would lose not only the 1,000 from the C.I.S.W.O. but also 1,000 from the main grant because the education authority would only match the committee's funds pound for pound.

          Before the end of October the committee was to hear from the council that the plans had now been sent to the Ministry of Transport for their approval but that they themselves had no objections. The decision was made to provisionally order the building, at least it may be possible to make a start before the C.I.S.W.O. deadline. A few days later the C.I.S.W.O. contacted the committee explaining that an error had been made and the time stipilation had now been removed. Things were looking up again and it was not to be long before the official offer of grant aid was received from the education authorities for the sum of 5,675.

          During the year there had been another successful sponsored walk, with 29 walkers and a dog, the latter being sponsored for 7. Also the now established carnival, which this year was not without it's difficulties, a fairground had been hired but following their inspection of the park they could not set up because of the fear that their vehicles would become bogged down. The overall result was therefore rather dissapointing with proceeds of only 65, prompting calls for the event to be abandoned the following year in favour of a Fete & Gala. The decision was also made that as the target figure had now been raised and the building of the hall was imminent the Carnival would be the last fund-raising venture of the present committee, a new management committee having to be set up to actually run the hall.

          Into 1971 and there was still no sign of a start being made on the hall although the committee hoped that work would commence by March and be completed before June. Confirmation was received during March of the main grant in the amount of 5,900, and also the National Playing Fields Association loan of 400, although there was one stipulation attached, that there was to be a plaque displayed on the showers acknowledging the help of the NPFA. Communication was also received during March that the cost of the building had now risen by 10% but if a firm order was placed for delivery before June this would be reduced to 5%. The order was duly placed with a view to a start being made on the site toward the end of April, the building being delivered before the end of June and the whole project being completed within 6 months, by October.

          A further public meeting was held on May 4th, this was to be the last one before the hall was opened and was attended by almost 70 people. This meeting was also attended by Mr.Davies of the education authority, who in his address stated that he referred to Pontlliw as the prime example of patience when others complained about how long things were taking.

          On May 10th 1971 the first sod was turned on the village hall site, work had commenced on the foundations and the dream of so many people for so many years was now closer than ever to becoming reality.

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Pontlliw Village Hall  (The Story of a Dream Come True)
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Norman Smith / Pontlliw Village Hall 1993 - 2009