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The congregation of Reigate Methodist were astounded to learn their six-year fundraising effort was to be boosted by £200,000 bequeathed to the church. The money, from long-standing† member Jean Clarke MBE, who died aged 81 in June, has pushed the church's plans into overdrive
Work has almost finished on phase one of the project, which includes a cafe and meeting rooms. But the second phase, the addition of an adjoining hall, looked to be still more years of fundraising away, before the surprise gift was announced this month.
The Rev Clive McKie said "As a result, our attention has been shifted from 'can we finish phase one' to ' can we finish phase two?'
"It means we might be able to start phase two before the builders finish their work on phase one'
Mrs Clarke worked as chief librarian at St Thomas's hospital, London, for which she was appointed an MBE. Close friend Shirley Cotton, president of the local Soroptimists branch of which Mrs Clarke was also a past president said 'She was a member of the church for many years and had a very strong faith. She wanted to see the plans for the community centre come to fruition'

Room details added

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There is now a list of the rooms that will be available for booking when the centre opens (not including the planned multipurpose hall). There will be audio-video facilities in some rooms, but details have not yet been finalized.

Building progress

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Building work is progressing well, with the walls now reaching the first floor. Structural steelwork was put in place this week, including the arch which will form the double-height entrance. Site photos are available in the Progress section.

What a gift of a day

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Reigate residents pulled together on Saturday to raise a staggering £20,000 towards the cost of a new community centre for the town.

The forecourt of Reigate Methodist Church, off the High Street, was bustling with people dropping in to donate gifts of money, buy cakes and burgers, and enjoy a sit in the Sheila's Wheels car, kindly supplied by Reigate-based Esure. They were also able to view plans for the 1.1m community centre, plus photos of the current building work taking place on land behind the church building.

And many people including pets - queued up to have their photo taken by the Surrey Mirror so they can be part of a giant community photo mosaic which will be hung in the new building when it opens at the end of the year. Reigate-based celebrity chef, Tony Tobin, caused a stir when he popped along to have his photo taken for the mosaic. And in the evening, Utopians Unlimited gave a fund-raising performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's 'Yeomen of the Guard' in the church.

We have held gift days before but have never had such a response from local people, it was amazing, said event organiser, Elizabeth Smith.  As the lead sponsors for the community centre, the members of Reigate Methodist Church have spent six years raising funds towards the cost of the building but we were some £170,000 short of the target. Saturday's funds will go a long way to bring that target closer.

Stretch-a-tenner 2010

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These days, a £10 note doesn't go far unless you are members of Reigate Methodist Church.

They have just launched their stretch-a-tenner campaign to raise funds for the new Reigate Community Centre, currently being built behind the church, off the town's High Street.

The last time members used their £10 notes to fund money-making ideas, they turned £400 into £4,000.

Garden openings, crafts shows, egg-selling, cake baking, party organising, and taxi-runs to the airport were just some of the many money-spinning events.  This year, the church members have more ideas up their sleeves, beginning with a garden opening at Gomers Cottage in Park Lane East, Reigate on Saturday, May 8. Seasoned garden hosts, Maureen and Roger Christmas, will be on hand to answer questions about their beautiful cottage garden between 10.30am-12.30pm and again from 3-5pm. Refreshments will be available. Donations welcome.