"IT IS now my duty to finally declare the refurbished St George’s Hall officially opened,” Bewdley’s mayor said, and with those words, the completion of the new- look facility was celebrated.

Cheers and a round of applause echoed in the main hall, where dozens of people had gathered for a celebratory lunch to mark the special occasion last Friday.

Tea and cake were served as guests admired the spruced- up hall.

It has been years in the making and the renovation of the facility in Load Street has left all those involved in the project with a sense of pride.

What was once a dated building has now been spruced up in an £800,000 project to create a multi-purpose hub.

The 1960s extension has been replaced with a new building and renovation of the hall to improve its use for large events.

It now boasts a new cafe and a foyer with meeting and exhibition space, while a cinema is run from the main hall.

However, were it not for the hard work and dedication of members of St George’s Hall Venue Management (SGHVM), who oversaw the development, it might not have got off the ground.

“It’s the groups that have been involved and their vision that’s led to this fantastic building for the people of Bewdley being here today,” said John Campion, leader of Wyre Forest District Council, which helped fund the project.

“It’s a proud moment to see it open and to see it used by the community already. I’m proud to be part of it.”

Funding for the project was also received from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Worcestershire Leader Programme and Bewdley Town Council.

Bewdley Mayor Linda Candlin said she was “delighted” the town council had given its support.

“What we now have is a tremendous facility for all the town to enjoy,” she added, while Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier described it as a “remarkable achievement”.

The hall, which was also used a drill hall during the Boer and First World wars, was erected in 1901 by Sarah Woodward, who was elected as England’s first female town councillor in 1907.

A plaque with her name was presented to the hall by Bewdley Civic Society during the official opening.