AGM season: Catton VillageHall tonight

Catton Village Hall

Just a lovely dusting of fresh snow on the high fells this morning — makes everything look fine, and doubtless will be gone by later today after the sun warms us up. But just to say we’re trying to keep this little diary timely and ‘of the moment.’

Now then, weather report out of the way, we can begin. Long long ago, when I was much younger and much more naive, I did not understand the ways of this patch at all. I remember seeing a table-top stall at Allendale Fair staffed by doughty ladies of Catton Village Hall, and asking them, in what must have seemed such a rude question, “Why are you trying to make money here in Allendale for a village hall?” I honestly wasn’t trying to be rude, just curious. The ladies were very gracious with me, so obviously a foreigner in these parts, and gently tried to explain how the close association of villages meant that we were all in this together, after all. And that’s how it goes throughout these valleys, I think, friendliness prevailing as folks in each tiny hamlet work together in their communities for the greater enrichment of us all.

Because it really does help to have a variety of village halls open for service, especially in an area with a small, but far-flung population, so that people can get out easily to ‘their’ hall; and besides, we need fresh ideas coming in all the time! Catton village hall was the first centre here in the Allen Valleys to have a publicly available defibrillator, for example, and the committee’s initiative on an air-exchange heat pump to make the little hall warm and welcoming for possibly the first time in its history, was salutary.

When I dropped off a packet of Pocket Directories for local distribution yesterday, Chris Bulman, past chair, now treasurer of the hall, reminded me of the AGM which Gillian Bulman will chair, to be held this evening in the hall. Hilary Nunn is the secretary, and bookings are conveniently done by email: — the hall has a lovely Facebook page too. Apparently the next project is looking like a renovation of the toilet capacity, with a view to creating disabled access to a toilet, which will be a great blessing — it’s not easy to bring these century-old halls into the 21st, but it can be done, with good will and grace!

Chris is also a director of Allendale Co-operative Society Ltd, so he’ll be attending that AGM on the 21st as well, proving the first point of this diary entry all over again. It surely is the AGM season, but on the other hand, what a good idea to deal with such business in the dark and dreek winter months, even though the snow looks so pretty!


  1. We are indeed fortunate to have three great village halls in the Allen ( auto correct Alien ) Valleys there used to be a Hall in Allenheads owed by the estate which used to be used for the show years ago under the patronage of the previous incumbent Lord Allendale whose brother Sir Nick from Sparty Lea is fondly remembered. He once told me that the only protection for midges which is part of valley life is Avon Skin So Soft. Times change and the hall is now a leasure centre for the current owner, I don’t think that many of the locals get to use it under the new regimen. A paradox of the behaviour of old and new money I guess?

  2. Actually, if I can get around to it, on this patch of East and West Allen, there are 5 halls: Allendale’s, Catton’s, Sinderhope’s, Langley’s and Whitfield’s. So I hope to get a little note about each, at some point over the year. it’s random how they come in to the diary though — depends on my day, which is how a diary should be, I guess?

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