Gresford and District War Memorial Trust


Gresford Trust

We are known by the Charity Commission as The Gresford and District War Memorial Community Centre Trust. This brief history of Gresford Trust was made from notes made by Mrs Irene Dutton, a long standing resident of this village.

Some past records have been accidentally lost and so some of this information has had to be compiled as best as we could. We have taken selective information from the Minute Books to give you a "flavour" of the Trust's History. Would anyone be interested in forming a Local History Group with particular reference to Gresford Trust? We could collate memories and experiences and publish them on this site. Please contact Margaret Heaton  or write to us if you are interested.


  • Prior to the end of the Second World War, the inhabitants of Gresford decided to initiate a Welcome Home Fund for returning servicemen. This was to be about £25.00 per person and was for approximately 100 men.


  • Miss Allington Hughes owned land in Gresford which she intended to leave to the people of Gresford, Marford and Hoseley. The intended bequest failed to materialise and the village decided to buy this land for the Community for the sum of £3,150, a considerable amount of money in those days! We understand that the Welcome Home Fund contributed towards that purchase but we have no records to say how much that was. The land purchased did not include the land now occupied by the British Legion Club. That was the result of a future land "swop".
  • Extension of Constitution Club to form ladies' toilets and meeting room.
  • Cricket field sold by Denbighshire County Council to Mr Crump and three Trustees for £720. (In 1998 the Cricket Club moved to the present site and the former cricket field was leased to the Community Council by the Trust.) It is now called Allington Park. The minutes of 1952 state that new tennis courts adjacent to the bowling green would be ready for use by May Day. There was also an option to buy Balmuir Café.


  • Further additions to Trust land. A piece of land measuring 1044 sq yds. at the rear of Balmuir Café sold to Mr Crump and three Trustees for ten shillings.
  • Chester Road: there used to be a Butcher's shop? / slaughter house and field for cows. The land extended back from Chester Road and the field where the cows were kept is now the site of the British Legion. The Butcher sold out to Dixons garage. Dixons wanted a wider access and a land "swop" took place.


  • Dixons called the garage Balmuir garage? Balmuir garage also wanted a wider access and a deal was done by the Trust. There does not appear to have been any consultation with the village over these deals but these negotiations may have been in the lost records.


  • A "Vic Hallam" timber prefabricated structure became the Memorial Hall at a cost of £11,975. Fundraising took place but the sum raised was insufficient and the difference was met by Mr Crump. This building, opened by Mr Crump served the village well until 1997 when it was demolished to make way for the present Memorial Hall.
  • In 1970 the Trust gave 412 sq yards of land to Wrexham County to make a footpath along Clappers Lane.
  • Memorial Hall in debt

Approach to the old hall




The old hall


Remember the old playground?



  • Martin Thomas QC.became President of the Trust.
    Possibility of selling Trust land discussed, public meetings held and the Tennis Club was re-formed.
  • Margaret Heaton, Architect and resident of the village, was asked about the costs of building a new hall and moving the cricket field. (There were insurance difficulties because of the cricket ground's proximity to the High Street). Presentations were held, strategies discussed, but the Trust had very little money - they were land rich, cash poor. To build new sports changing facilities, a new hall, and create a cricket field also meant moving and constructing two new tennis courts - this was a formidable task!


  • An idea was put forward to build small starter or retirement homes around a village green adjacent to the Lake. This would generate funds for building new facilities but the residents of the village had to agree to the proposal. The Trust organised a public display of the proposals in a Portacabin on the Plough car park, held two public meetings in January 1993 and had a ballot box vote. Great passions were aroused and the idea was soundly defeated.
  • Mr V Davies was elected Chairman of the Trust at a meeting in the Scout Hut. The Trust had a playground that was dangerous, buildings that were badly maintained or virtual slums, a pot holed road, a tangled legal history, poor or lost records, 21 mature lime trees and 18 acres of land with extensive boundaries. If that wasn't enough the Trust had only a small amount of capital and receipts from bookings hardly covered day to day expenses.
  • A very successful social event organised by a Trustee, Ian Gibson raised £1,000 and that was the start of our fundraising. It was the start of many years spent learning how to apply for grants.
  • The Tennis Club received funding for their new courts. The cricket club received a grant for building the square and all the clubs co-operated in having an overall strategy of what should go where.
  • There was the possibility of funding for Millennium projects. Margaret Heaton drew up plans for a Millennium park which included an extra football pitch, a new cricket field, two tennis courts, trim trail, altering a right of way, landscape, car parks, new changing rooms, a new children's play area and a teenage area. This plan was presented to Chief Officers of WCBC to ask for their advice and support.
  • The Trust held a fete organised by Colin Brown and Janice Barnes and supported by everyone.
  • Future cricket outfield was surveyed with help from NEWI students. Plans were drawn up and planning permission obtained for infilling of field to form new cricket square and outfield. A contract for £1.00 was signed with D Holmes Plant Hire to infill the land.
  • Trust investigated and obtained planning permission for two Portakabins as temporary changing rooms. Two schemes were professionally done for extensions to the "Vic Hallam " timber hall. An Interior designer suggested ways of improving the existing hall. Groundwork did a landscape scheme for our Millennium park. All this was a contribution to the Trust and it was on a no fee basis.
  • Application to National Lottery. The process was new to everyone and our application was returned because it wasn't good enough.
  • An application was put into Foundation for Sport and the Arts prior to the National Lottery coming into existence.
  • Application to SPORTLOT with a phased scheme. Phase 1 changing rooms and a later phase 2 which would be for a hall.
  • Ian Gibson became Chairman of the Trust and Colin Brown became Treasurer. They both played key roles together with Margaret Heaton, Project Co-ordinator in what were to prove  a very difficult times.
  • Application to Millennium Fund rejected. We didn't have 50% match funding.
  • Foundation for Sport and the Arts grants us £39,000 with the possibility of claiming £21,000 back in tax relief.
  • The Community Council would only support the scheme if there was a hall included. We were advised by SPORTLOT to go for National rather than Regional funding. The application would be based on a full scheme of changing rooms and crucially, a hall for sport.
  • We still had no money but the Community Council was advised that they could apply for a Welsh Office Loan. They received £114,000 and from that money they contributed £69,000 to the Trust scheme. A valuation was carried out on what is now called Allington Park. The Community Council bought the lease from the Trust which enabled the Community Council to provide a play area and park for the village. The Trust used the money from the lease as part of their matching fund contribution to the Lottery. It was all vastly complicated but everyone worked together (most of the time) for the good of the village.
  • Letters sent to seven firms of Architects and eight firms of Quantity Surveyors for fee bids. Designs and consultations followed during the next few months with the chosen professionals.
  • Planning permission given for the whole scheme
    Tenders sent out to Contractors
    Tenders opened in Architect's office were too high and reductions had to be made in the specification to reduce the costs.
    We now had £313,657 from Sportlot, £39,000 FSA plus tax relief of £21,000 obtained a year after completion of the building, and a Community Council contribution of £69,000. With the Trust's contribution the total cost of building without furniture and fittings at £487,656 was achieved.
  • Contractor Dennis Jones, Willow Lea Builders, takes possession of the site. The old hall is demolished.

Old hall being demolished


The old cricket pavilion


The old football changing rooms!




  • Building shell to roof height was completed. We have archive photographs of all the construction, taken by Barry Davies, Peter Davies, Stan Moore and others.
  • Janet Holmes, Secretary from 1995 assisted by Jenny Dutton,Trustee, took over the administration and organisation of the new Hall and the Trust land.

Quote: "It is evident that the building has been completed to a high standard and is an excellent example of what a small community can achieve."

Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies MP opened the new Memorial Hall on August 8th, 1998.


  • Roy Newman became Chairman and made a significant contribution.
    £20,000 was spent on the Constitution Club.
  • Two new car parks costing £39,950 were constructed together with two new benches and jetty as part of the same scheme. The remaining part of the right of way, adjacent to the tennis courts, was surfaced.


  • Harold Roberts became Chairman and developed the support the Trust makes to the Arts. Ill health forced his resignation and sadly he died the following year.


  • Jenny Dutton became Chairman
    Grant obtained for outdoor play area for nursery children - due to start July
  • 50% grant for this web site that includes a booking system. We understand that we are probably the first community centre in WCBC to have a web site and certainly the first to have an on-line booking system.


  • Trust Open Day to show villagers the facilities, what we do and what we have achieved. Organised by Laura Horton and Janet Holmes.



The Trust has made huge progress in improving and expanding community facilities. This is entirely due to the commitment and hard work of the management committee and the support and encouragement of its Trustees.

Since the opening in 1998 we have provided acoustic panels in the main hall, ball stop fencing, artificial cricket wicket, indoor bowling mats, cricket practice nets, football stand, new carpets, equipment and furniture. We have put money away for future maintenance. We have spent money on improving our land and bought the machinery to do it. Volunteer time and expertise is incalculable.


Total investment in the village through applying for grants, volunteers working hard, donations and revenue from hiring out the facilities has been in the region of £648,809 since 1995. All the money which we make is ploughed back into improving the Trust facilities for the Community. This makes a great contrast to the situation in 1993 and we feel our success is due to everyone co-operating and working together. This is really appreciated and we give our thanks to all who have contributed.