Pant Memorial Hall Trustees – part of our community

Pant Memorial Hall has provided a meeting place in the village for more than 100 years. The hall committee is looking for new members and so we talked to Pant Memorial Hall Trustee Richard Banks about being a committee member…

We began by asking Richard when he joined the committee and if it involved a lot of work.

“I joined in 2022, making me the newest member,” he said. “Being a committee member is far from being an onerous task.

“I don’t mind saying that, as a rule, I have a loathing for committees. I am not a natural committee member. But, the small group of people who make up the committee of Pant Memorial Hall are not just dedicated, they’re smart, efficient, organised, and very much focused on making things happen. I can work as a member of a committee like that.

Richard Banks of Pant Memorial Hall

“The recent move to generation of much of the hall’s electricity through solar power is a good example of that. Practical action, delivered without fuss.”

According to Richard, the Pant Memorial Hall committee has boiled everything down to the essentials, and is good at getting things done. “The committee only meets four times a year. Of course, a sub-set might meet to plan and organise an event such as the hall’s Autumn Bazaar, but a great deal can, these days, be sorted out via email.

Richard feels that many local people might not really be aware of what goes on at the hall and says he would like to see greater engagement by the community with the hall.

“The hall plays host to a very wide range of activities, perhaps more than many people in the area may be aware of. The hall, a memorial to those lost in World War One, takes its meaning from the activities that go on within its walls, the people that it brings together, and I’d love to see it being used every day of the year.”

He says as people tighten their belts, the hall is a cost-effective venue. “The hourly rental of the hall, just £12.50, makes it a very attractive proposition for such things as children’s birthday parties, family celebrations, even wakes. A resource such as the hall, right on the doorstep, is potentially a solution to celebrating or marking a family event without blowing the budget.”

So how did Richard end up living in Pant?

After university he worked in central London for 14 years. “I travelled with work a great deal, and every journey involved tedious time on the M25. I’d had enough of the corporate world, so in 2003 I resigned my job. I ended up working at Shrewsbury FE College, from 2003 to 2009 and ended up in Pant by virtue of working at the College. Some years before I’d walked the Offa’s Dyke long-distance path, so knew of the area. And we fell in love, the moment we saw it, with the house we ultimately bought.

“I’ve always been attracted to border communities, which in my experience attract interesting people. Pant is home to a good number of very interesting people. It’s attractive, has a good variety of different styles of house and is the start point for a lot of good walking.”

We asked Richard what community means to him and if he sees much evidence of it locally.

“Community is commonality of effort and endeavour, aimed at producing or providing something for people other than oneself and/or one’s family. That’s most visible at times of difficulty, such as during the Covid pandemic. But anything that helps, supports, values people as a whole, during good times or bad, is communitarian. And there’s a lot of such activity around here.”

When he isn’t volunteering, Richard says his interests are gardening, walking, photography, reading, repairing classic cars, restoring various items, long-distance cycling and motor racing.

If you would like to join Richard and the other trustees, you will need to put your name forward to the next AGM, but why not visit first to find out more?

Posted in Autumn Bazaar, Pant, Pant Memorial Hall.