A decades-long dream to give a Sheffield suburb ‘the village hall it deserves’ has finally been realised.
Wincobank Village Hall reopened on Saturday following a £250,000 makeover, with the main room on the refurbished ground floor dedicated to boxing legend Brendan Ingle, who trained a slew of world beaters at his gym down the road.
Part of Tansley Street, located between the gym and the new-look village hall, was also renamed Brendan Ingle Way that evening in honour of the beloved coach, who died in May, aged 77.
Brendan’s son Dominic and great niece Terri performed a moving rendition of the Pete Seeger song Little Boxes, which their father loved, as the new street sign was revealed.
Around 150 people then gathered in the village hall on Newman Road, where Lord Bob Kerslake unveiled the plaque.
Brendan’s daughter Bridget Ingle said: “Having the hall and part of Tansley Street named after Dad means a lot to the family, everyone in the gym and all the local residents.
“It's a daily reminder of what he stood for and what he did for Wincobank and for the young people of Sheffield.
“It’s just a shame Dad couldn’t be here that evening, because he would have loved it. He was all about looking after where you live and taking pride in the area.”
Bridget also revealed how there were plans for Pete McKee's celebrated image of Brendan to be painted on the wall of a house near the gym next year.
The village hall, which was part of an older people’s housing complex, opened in 2016 but only the upstairs had been open until bosses at the nearby Meadowhall shopping centre and building firm Laing O’Rourke teamed up with other companies, including the flat-pack giant IKEA and Sheffield glazing company Clear Line, to renovate the ground floor.
As well as the Brendan Ingle Hall, the formerly derelict downstairs now features a new kitchen, toilets and meeting rooms.
An old wash house had previously served as Wincobank’s village hall until that building was condemned.
Councillor Peter Price, who chairs Wincobank Village Hall Trust, campaigned alongside Brendan for many decades to get a proper village hall.
“This is the realisation of a dream which goes back decades to give Wincobank the village hall it deserves,” he said.
“I think we now have the best village hall in the city. It’s a tragedy Brendan's not here to see it because he did so much to make it happen. He was so proud of his home village and he would be incredibly proud of this hall.”
Coun Price added that trustees had been ‘inundated’ with requests to hire the new-look hall, which already hosts two youth clubs, regular coffee mornings, dance sessions and much more, and is a popular choice for birthday parties and other functions.
Meadowhall’s centre director Darren Pearce said: “The recent renovations have turned a great venue into something really special for Wincobank. It’s a real example of community supporting community.”