OVERALL BEST COMMUNITY PERSON: George Thomson’s vision has benefited the whole community

George Thomson. C082098-2

George Thomson. C082098-2

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It is thanks to one man that people in Bracklesham now have their very community facility which is being enjoyed by people of all ages.

Fifteen years ago, George Thomson had a dream for a community hall and despite all the odds, and all the difficulties obtaining funding for the project, he has left a huge legacy for the area.

And in recognition of all that he has given, George has now been nominated in the Overall Best Community Person in the annual Observer Community Awards.

The first step on the journey to this wonderful achievement was when George set up a residents’ association.

His initial thought was that with such a large amount of building and development taking place in Bracklesham, the area would need its own community facility where people and community groups could gather.

George was successful in his request to Chichester District Council that money given to the community from developers, as part of the homes built, should go to the fundraising project.

Once the project progressed, George worked with fellow Bracklesham resident Michael Pettitt on a grant application to the Big Lottery fund.

This was a long and involved process, which required a huge amount of work, and despite many people being sceptical about the likelihood of the project receiving any money, it was awarded £220,000 from the lottery.

George worked with architects and builders and in March the community hall, called the Bracklesham Barn officially opened.

People in the area have a lot to thank George for as, without his vision, the project would never have got off the ground.

The hall is now run by the Bracklesham Barn Community Association and on Saturday there will be a special party which will be the first major event to be held in the building.

Nick Carter, who nominated George, said: “Their commitment to the community is just immense. George has been completely selfless in getting this done and it is a fantastic achievement.”