Ricky Gervais helps give Woodstock Town Hall a lift

Oxford Mail: Mayor Brian Yoxall takes a ride on the stairlift at Woodstock Town Hall Buy this photo Mayor Brian Yoxall takes a ride on the stairlift at Woodstock Town Hall

AWARD-WINNING writer and comedian Ricky Gervais is usually known for his humour and often controversial jokes.

But after a donation from the film company behind his movie Cemetery Junction, Gervais may be remembered for a new stairlift.

Woodstock Town Hall has had the £10,000 stairlift installed after Point Productions – the firm which filmed parts of the 2010 coming-of-age comedy in the Town Hall and the surrounding area – donated the cash.

The money went to the Woodstock 900 legacy fund, created to celebrate nine centuries since Henry 1 enclosed the royal park – which later became the town – with a stone wall.

Cemetery Junction, set in 1970s Reading, was written and directed by Mr Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who created BBC TV comedies The Office and Extras.

The town hall and the surrounding area were used as locations for the movie and were dressed to look like a 1970s police station.

Woodstock mayor Brian Yoxall said: “I saw filming in the town square and the mayor’s parlour looked completely unlike the mayor’s parlour. It was transformed.

“It was a very nice experience for a limited amount of time for the town. We would not want disruption on a regular basis, but it was nice to be part of a film that featured Woodstock.

“The production company was very co-operative – we had no problems with them and it was a very enjoyable experience for everyone concerned.

“We welcome the opportunity to have a film in the town of Woodstock itself, as opposed to Blenheim Palace, which gets featured quite a lot. We hope they do not mind the competition.”

Blenheim Palace has been used as a set for films including Gulliver’s Travels, The Young Victoria and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The stairlift was installed in March by the Woodstock-based firm Recare.

It provides disabled access to Woodstock Town Hall’s assembly room, kitchen and women’s toilet for the first time since the hall was built in 1766.

Mr Yoxall added: “I am sure everyone will be delighted with this significant improvement at the Town Hall for disabled people.

“It will be a material factor in generating additional business for the attractive Assembly Room on the first floor, which is used for receptions, weddings and various activities by local groups, as well as antique fairs and craft fairs which attract visitors from outside Woodstock.”

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