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Kemp event signals sad end to top-floor gallery
SADDENED users of Kidderminster Library enjoyed hearing the Steinway grand piano at the venue for the last time during Kemp Hospice’s final top-floor coffee morning.
The Kidderminster charity has raised nearly £2,000 at its regular Thursday event, which will now be suspended until June after builders moved into the library on Monday.
Worcestershire County Council is preparing a new, smaller gallery on the first floor of the building and the top floor facility will be used for offices for staff from adult and community services and children’s services, according to council libraries and learning manager Kathy Kirk.
Gallery user Alan Thompson said: “There was a great feeling of sadness and community at Kemp’s last musical coffee morning.
“The coffee mornings will continue in June but at a rather inferior replacement gallery on a lower floor and without the grand piano [which is moving to Kidderminster Town Hall] or any music at all.
“It is a great shame that such an opportunity will now be lost in future, along with the original aspirations of the Arts Council, when they gave money to build a gallery and give the town a unique cultural lift.”
Arts Council England awarded a £326,583 grant in July, 1996, to Hereford and Worcester County Council for “the provision of public art at the library and to enhance facilities for exhibition, performance and development of literature within the building”, according to a spokesman for the body.
Natalie Norgrove and other Kemp volunteers thanked pianists at the event, including regular player Margaret Beresford.
After the event, Ele Millward, Kemp community fund-raiser, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who comes along to these events and all the volunteers that contribute to its success.
“The library has been a fantastic venue and we hope that the refurbishment will run smoothly.”
Library users and residents can view plans on a display at the library today and tomorrow, and council officers will be available at the building from 3.30pm until 5pm today to explain the changes.