Like a phoenix rising from the ashes a new community hall has finally replaced the burned-out shell of the old hall at St. Combs.
Since October 2009,when a shocked village awoke to the news that their community facility had been razed to the ground, there has been a determination among locals to replace the well-used hall.
After a period of consultation involving residents, much discussion over plans, and extensive fundraising and grant applications the first sod for the new development was cut in May last year.
Now, just 15 months later, a superb new hall is available for use by local organisations,visitors to the village and by the wider community.
The main hall, which was officially opened on Saturday, August 30, has three badminton courts and is lined up for basketball and football.
There is a smaller multi-purpose hall and meeting room, an impressive kitchen and office and full shower and changing rooms, as well as other facilities.
The official opening of the hall was attended by a host of St. Combs residents as well as specially invited guests.
Louise Strachan, chairperson of the seven-strong committee, welcomed all the residents and friends and especially Buchan area manager Chris White, who carried out the official opening of the hall.
Ms Strachan said that Mr White, along with his staff, had given ‘unstinting support’ throughout the project.
She also thanked the major contributors to the building of the community hall: the late David Bruce and family, St.Combs community, Beryl and Charles Ritchie, Aberdeenshire Council, European Leader Funding and Scottish Power Green Energy Trust.
In his résumé of the history of the hall, John Milton drew attention to the fact that ground source heat pumps and solar panels made the building the most environmentally friendly one in this area.
Indeed, Scottish Power was so impressed wit the facility that the Green Energy Trust awarded St.Combs the largest grant in Scotland this year for a community resource - an impressive achievement.
The main contractor, James Lovie and workforce were also complimented by all on the standard of build and their cheerful co-operation.
Throughout the afternoon a continuous stream of people toured the hall and enjoyed the teas and home bakes kindly donated.
“Already activities are planned, bookings are being made and groups relocating, so the new hall will fulfil its purpose of being a valuable resource for the village,” added Ms. Strachan.