IT was opened in 1934 in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War to serve the community.

Deane Parish Church Memorial Hall proved popular with community groups and provided a social place for many years — especially for those who may otherwise have found themselves isolated and alone.

Yesterday the hall, which has been shut for sometime, was set alight in a suspected arson attack.

It marked a sad end for a building which played an important role in the area.

Its history can be traced back to 1891.

The church website states: “As part of the church’s presence in Deane it was decided to build a place for the parishioners that would keep them out of the Public Houses and Ale Houses.

“The Rev Henry Sheridan Patterson recognised the need for a social club and in 1891 plans were unveiled for such a facility. Deane Village Club was to include a gym, meeting rooms, café and bowling green. It would appear that this building was not built, but in its place a corrugated iron building assembled.

“This one was called the ‘Church House’.

“In the Bazaar booklet of 1929, it is stated that it had a name change to ‘Deane Parochial Hall’. It had lasted for over thirty years and was costly to maintain.

“The Memorial Hall is the latest in a series of buildings that have served the community. The foundation stone was laid in 1934 and was opened five months later on 3rd November. It was dedicated to the members of the parish who gave up their lives in the 1914-1918 war.

“Towards the end of the 20th century it was noticed that the Memorial Hall also was suffering quite severe problems.

“A prop was installed in the kitchen to hold the roof up and several cracks had appeared at the south end of the building.

“Efforts were made to make the building habitable but in 2011 part of the ceiling collapsed.”

The Foundation Stone was laid by Joseph Taylor on June 2, 1934 and the building was officially opened on November 3 with a special service.

It was opened by Sir John Haslam JP.

The first prayer said was: “O God, bless and keep all those who seek rest or recreation in this place; grant to them increase of health and strength.

“Preserve them from all harm and accident. Defend them in temptation and deliver them from all evil.

“Make them more ready in a body and soul serve and live for Thee: through Jesus Christ and Lord. Amen.”

During the service the Memorial Tablet to the men of the church and the parish who ‘laid down their lives in the Great War’ was unveiled by Major the Rev C Blomeley L.Th .

There was also a procession by ex-servicemen.

Over the years it became a meeting point for organisations including holding a lunch and leisure club for those aged 50 and over. Today the church offers Deane Church Centre for meetings and events.