REJUVENATED Richardson Hall has been returned to its former glory after a sustained programme of refurbishment.

The historic 130-year-old building in Lawnswood Road had fallen into such a state of disrepair that people didn't want to use it anymore.

Janet Blakeway, chairman of Wordsley Community Association, said: "We were losing bookings and it was quite obvious why. We'd reached the point where something had to be done."

It was the Princes Trust who originally came to the rescue by redecorating the building internally.

Outside, the front dedication stones were replaced, and the building was restored back to its original look when it was opened as a Drill Hall for the 1st Volunteer South Staffordshire Regiment in 1884. It was later presented to the people of Wordsley in 1907 by William Haden Richardson in memory of his sister Martha.

Money for the outdoor renovations was provided by Dudley Council, Wordsley Community Association and Wordsley History Society.

Janet added: "The sandstone at the front of the building was deteriorating so much that there was a hole in the middle of it, where you could put your hand right through.

"We were ashamed of it then, but not now, because the building is looking magnificent and bookings are back on the increase. The more people that use Richardson Hall, the more we are securing its future."

The hall was re-dedicated on Saturday June 14 by the Reverend Colin Jones in the presence of Dudley Mayor Cllr Margaret Aston and Dudley South MP Chris Kelly together with a number of borough councillors.

A commemorative plate was also unveiled jointly by Cllr Aston, Rev Jones and Gilbert Evans, a former South Staffordshire veteran.

Janet singled out the Princes Trust for special praise and insisted: "They were wonderful. They funded their own work and of course, gave all their time and labour for free.

"I've got them back here at the moment doing work in the gardens."