Touch of star power as ribbon cut at Compton school hall

Actor Hugh Dennis with the headteacher of Compton and Upmarden school, Joan Burnett friends parents and teachers after the opening ceremony of their new hall. C120853-2
Actor Hugh Dennis with the headteacher of Compton and Upmarden school, Joan Burnett friends parents and teachers after the opening ceremony of their new hall. C120853-2

Chuckles and cheers rang out as a long-awaited Compton hall was declared open by a celebrity guest.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch comedian Hugh Dennis cut the ribbon and welcome guests into the £800,000 new facility at Compton and Upmarden CoE Primary School.

The funnyman, who lives in Chichester and has carved out a successful career with appearances on Outnumbered and Mock the Week, said he was delighted to be opening the new hall.

“This hall is the result of an incredible amount of hard work by all sorts of people. It is incredibly hard to get planning permission especially in an area so beautiful as this one, and it is incredibly hard to build a hall which is as functional and beautiful as this,” said Hugh.

Some 11 years in the making, the hall will be an asset, not just for the school’s 82 pupils, but the whole community.

Headteacher Joan Burnett said: “It has been a very special day for the school. Not only was it our fete day, but also the official opening of our long-awaited and much-needed hall.

“I started at the school 11 years ago and in my first governors board meeting in 2001, the governors asked if I wanted a hall for the school. I said yes of course, it was vital for the school’s survival.

“Little did I know what a rollercoaster of a ride it would be to achieve that goal.

“The new hall will be a place where all the students can come together, we can all sit down and eat our dinner together, a place where indoor PE lessons can take place and somewhere for the children to play on wet days.

“But the hall is not just for the pupils. It is a place which can be used by the whole community and that makes it even more exciting.”

Funding for the hall has been provided by the Extended School’s Service, community fundraising and a donation from the Octagon Parish churches. The school also managed to save an impressive £200,000 from its own capital budgets to go towards the build.