Hall opens in memory of Vicky
IT was a night of mixed emotions as a community came together for the official opening of a memorial to murdered schoolgirl Vicky Hall.Celebration sat side by side with sadness, tears with cheers, and poignant memories with hope for the future, as people remembered the real reason for the fantastic new sports pavilion on their village field.
IT was a night of mixed emotions as a community came together for the official opening of a memorial to murdered schoolgirl Vicky Hall.
Celebration sat side by side with sadness, tears with cheers, and poignant memories with hope for the future, as people remembered the real reason for the fantastic new sports pavilion on their village field.
The close-knit community which pulled together to support the family at the heart of the tragedy, and then poured its energies into raising money for the memorial, came to see Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle open the £260,000 project.
Trimley St Mary rolled out the red carpet for the Super Blues as the club sent a team of stars from its glorious past and promising future to play a special Trimley Red Devils side.
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Jim Magilton, FA Cup final goal scoring hero Roger Osborne and former colleague Bryan Hamilton were among the players who came along to enjoy the game, meet fans and sign autographs.
It will be five years next month since the awful night when 17-year-old sixth former Vicky was abducted after walking home from a night out in Felixstowe.
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She parted from her best friend Gemma Algar - who also attended last night's event - just 500 yards from her home in Faulkeners Way, Trimley St Mary.
After five days of praying for her safety, hope finally faded completely for her mum and dad, Lorinda and Graham Hall when her naked body was found dumped in a ditch 25 miles away.
A few months later, the appeal - spearheaded by the Evening Star with the full backing of the teenager's parents - was launched to build a memorial, a pavilion for the junior football club with which the family is so involved.
Accompanied by Mr and Mrs Hall, Joe Royle unveiled a plaque to name the building the Victoria Hall Pavilion.
Mr Royle said Vicky's death was a terrible tragedy but the pavilion meant that some good had come out of the situation, and he felt sure the teenager would be pleased to know that her memorial was benefiting young people.
"It's a fantastic facility and I am not exaggerating when I say there will be a number of league clubs who would be proud to have facilities like this," he said.
"When I look back to some of the places I played as a kid, this would have been like coming to Wembley. Anyone who plays here will really enjoy it."
Mr Hall said it had been a difficult few days for the family leading up to the opening with many different emotions.
"For Lorinda and myself, and our son Steven, it is a time tinged with sadness, but we are very proud and it is a wonderful building and we know that Victoria's name will be remembered forever," he said.
He paid tribute to the Evening Star for launching the appeal, and also to Red Devils' chairman Bob Race for his hard work.
Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover, one of the trustees of the appeal, said it was an evening of celebration and commemoration and one on which to look to the future with renewed hope.
He thanked everyone who had supported the appeal and paid tribute to the village for the way it had rallied round to support Vicky's family.
"From very small beginnings, the pounds and pennies came from a myriad events across the whole Suffolk community to create a memorial of which we can all be very proud," he said.
In the commemorative match, Ipswich - featuring former stars such as Bontcho Guentchev, John Wark, and Jason Dozzell, and in the second half some youth players - won an entertaining game 4-0.
In the first half, Trimley Red Devils' team featured Vicky's brother Steven and members of the side he played with during his time at the club, and in the second half the under 18s team took to the field.
Vicky regularly attended Red Devils' matches at Stennetts Memorial Playing Field to cheer on her brother and friends who played, while her mum and dad have been closely involved with the management of the club for many years.
Invited guests for the opening included representatives of the wide variety of organisations which supported the fundraising appeal, which raised £100,000 before being boosted by a £160,000 grant from the Football Foundation.
These included the Port of Felixstowe, Trimley St Mary Parish Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council, Suffolk Environmental Trust, and Trinity College.
The pavilion, built by contractors Heronbuild, will enable the club to attract many more youngsters and set up a girls' team and senior side. The foundation has also donated £50,000 towards creation of an area mini soccer academy.