A POPULAR village Pavilion which has been used more than 500 times since it opened last year has been officially opened at a special ceremony.

On Saturday (September 14) more than 100 people gathered at Williton Pavilion and watched as Elizabeth Peeks, a founder member of the Williton Pavilion Steering Group, gave an emotional speech and cut the ribbon to officially open the Pavilion.

The new Pavilion, which opened to the public in December last year, cost just shy of £1.5 million and was made possible through a £947,000 grant from the Big Lottery, with more than £250,000 supplied by the EDF CIM fund as well as several other contributors.

Located in the heart of the community, the Pavilion was designed to be multifunctional, catering for sports, leisure and social activities and since it opened it has been used more than 500 times by a variety of groups for zumba classes, coffee mornings and weddings.

Speaking at the event, Elizabeth said: "It is nice to see everyone using the facility, it brings the community together.

"For a long time people didn't have a facility like this in the village. Quite a lot of people in our village live on their own and this facility means they can socialise.

"It has been a long journey to get here but I am really pleased the Pavilion is now open to the public."

Visitors celebrated the opening with a glass of bubbly and enjoyed refreshments and sandwiches in the Pavilion.

Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Lidell-Grainger also attended the launch event and said he is 'over the moon' the facility is now open to the public.

He said: "I have been here for 18 years, it has been a struggle but I am so pleased the Pavilion is finally open.

"There have been talks about opening a Pavilion in Williton for around 70 years and it has taken a lot of hard work.

"For people who have volunteered over the years it has been difficult to make this happen but it is great to have this place finally open in the village."

And Williton Parish Council chairman Cllr Tony Perrett said it is 'absolutely fantastic' to see the Pavilion open and thanked

He said: "For more than 20 years we have been trying to get a village Pavilion in Williton and we have finally done it.

"When we started this project we created a business plan which projected how much the hall would be used and how much money we would make.

"I am pleased to say we have already reached the figures we were expecting to get in our third year. An awful lot of hard work has gone into this and it is great to see this place open and being used by the community."