A LOCAL HERO is giving up his time for free to help improve the village hall where he spent his wedding day.

Fred Warland’s life has been intrinsically linked to Headington Quarry Village Hall. His father and grandfather used to Morris dance in the area and the hall was the venue of his own wedding reception nearly 40 years ago.

The 59-year-old, of Risinghurst, has now laid a new path around the centre completely free of charge - and with help from local building supplies firm Blanchford.

Oxford Mail:

Dad-of-two Mr Warland, who has been branded a ‘local hero’ for his efforts, said: “Across the road from the hall is the rec, where I used to play football. I also had my wedding at that hall and my dad and grandfather were Morris dancers in Headington Quarry.

“It has always been quite dear to me heart so I was happy to do it.

"And if I say I’m going to do something, I do it.”

The request for help came from the president of the Quarry Women’s Institute Glenys Gaskin, who Mr Warland had completed work for in the past.

Initially, the plan was to install a ramp for wheelchair access to the hall’s fire doors, but rapidly grew into a bigger job.

The work quickly changed to creating a new path to replace the old one, which had crumbled to the point of being dangerous.

Mr Warland, who tied the knot with his wife Wendy in 1982, contacted Blanchford Building Supplies in Windmill Road and found the company was happy to provide support.

He said: “I couldn’t say how much they’ve donated. It’s a lot of cement - a good few hundred pounds worth.”

The centre, which is owned by every resident of the parish, is used as the venue for a nursery during the week.

In the evenings it serves as a social hub with activities ranging from bridge to dancing and exercise classes.

Oxfordshire county councillor Roz Smith, who is the chairwoman of the trustees at the village hall, called Mr Warland a ‘local hero’.

She said: “He decided he was going to put something back into the community and we were absolutely delighted.

“It really is amazing and the work was so fast.

“We’re really happy that he came forward to do the work and also very thankful to Blanchford for donating all the materials.”

Mrs Smith described the hall as an ideal community hub - stressing that it belongs to the community, rather than being owned by a council.

She said that, since taking over as chairwoman, a number of improvements had been implemented to keep the hall fit for the 21st century.

Mrs Smith continued: “We’ve had a number of grants and we’re gradually getting things done so that all of these groups and the nursery can carry on.

“I always think it’s a bit like the Tardis in Dr Who; it doesn’t look very big from the outside but you can get 120 people in there.”

The trustees are currently raising funds to install some new doors on the hall.

Headington Quarry Village Hall, which is located on the corner of Quarry Road and Margaret Road, first opened its doors in 1932 and is available for hire.