NEW HALL BUILT IN FIVE DAYS [WITH PICS]

NEW HALL BUILT IN FIVE DAYS [WITH PICS]
BY KELLY SHORROCK
KSHORROCK@DERBYTELEGRAPH.CO.UK

Jehovah’s Witnesses are preparing to move into a new place of worship which was just an empty plot of land a week ago.

It took only five days to build the new Kingdom Hall, in Leytonstone Drive, Mackworth, after members of the faith from far and wide descended on the site last week.

And organisers have praised the community effort of volunteers, aged from 16 to 97.

Congregation elder Michael Powell, of Ashbrook Close, Allestree, has worked on similar projects in Matlock and Ashbourne, and said the key to success was careful planning and organisation.

The 67-year-old said: “We have different trade teams of plumbers, roofers, brick layers, electricians and ground workers and every team knows exactly when they are due to come on site and what they have to do – down to the hour.

“Sometimes the schedule can be put back due to rain, in which case we just move the whole project back accordingly. But we were very lucky with the weather and were even ahead of schedule towards the end of the build.”

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The volunteers who took part in the project came from as far afield as North Yorkshire and Lincoln and were put up in the homes of local congregation members.

They were taught the skills they needed, such as bricklaying and plumbing, at classes held by Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the year.

This meant they had the knowledge needed to construct and renovate other Kingdom Halls in the region, as well making repairs to their own homes if necessary.

About 200 volunteers were involved in constructing the new Mackworth Kingdom Hall.

Work started at 7am on Wednesday last week and finished at 5.30pm on Sunday. With volunteers on site from 7am to 6.30pm each day, the hall was built in just 55 hours.

The construction was carried out in a specific order with ground workers first preparing the site before construction of the building’s timber frame began.

Once that was finished the roof was constructed and tilers and bricklayers then began their work.

Plumbers and electricians then did their jobs inside the building.

Thanks to the volunteers’ contribution, the cost of the project was just £300,000 – saving about half a million pounds in building costs.

At 97, Mary Hesford, of Enfield Road, Derby, was the oldest volunteer on site.

As well as providing accommodation for volunteers who had travelled to Derby from Leeds, she spent time baking cakes and providing much-needed refreshments.

She said: “It was such a lovely atmosphere. Everyone was so friendly and we all had a fantastic time.”

The only remaining tasks are decorating, adding soft furnishings such as curtains and carpets and laying the surface of the car park.

It was problems with parking at the congregation’s former site in Stepping Lane, Derby which led to the new Kingdom Hall being constructed.

Mr Powell said: “Now we have a dedicated car park as well as a brand new hall which is more comfy and has better facilities – it really is a dream come true.”

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