Greig History One
THE GREIG HALL STORY - PART ONE Bill Bayley
The Greig Hall has been in Alcester since around 1950, and now the Trustees are proposing to knock down the main building to put up houses, because they cannot run it at a profit. How Mr. David Greig must be turning in his grave. He erected it as a Youth Club, for the youth of Alcester, in memory of his wife, Hannah Susan, who came here in WW2 and liked it, but thought the youngsters deserved better facilities. Look what gas happened since. Corruption and incompetence.
Not all those who have been trustees can be soiled by this story. But at crucial times in the Greig’s history, the wrong man (and it was always men) was at the helm. It is time that we, the people of Alcester, said “enough”. Nearly £1 million has been paid to the Greig trustees in the last few years. This ought to be almost enough to buy it outright as a going concern, with proper professional management. If we owned it, then Stratford District Council could run it as they run their own Sports Halls and Community Centres, by contracting in competent companies.
I shall be publishing more on this subject, but I thought I should let our readers see what I wrote in the Tunbler in 1994. They don’t seem to have learned from their mistakes, do they? Time they went, then.
Letter to the Editor of the Tunbler 25.7.1994
How pleasant to hear from ‘Flying Spirit of Alcester’ on the subject of The Aeroplane. The facts about this dinosaur, (which certainly existed, unlike mermaids) are as follows:
Some time around 1974 the Greig Hall Trustees acquired an interest in flying, and the accounts of the time contain references to payments of several thousand pounds to Alcester Flying Association (AFA), whose address was the Greig Hall, and the directors included D.Collett, then one of the two trustees.
Around this time I was approached by a Polish pilot who worked with me for Lucas Aerospace, who said he flew an aeroplane at Coventry Airfield for certain people who came from Alcester. He asked me if I would like a trip in it, as he thought it unfair that more Alcester folks did not use it, and he was suspicious of the reasons why they didn’t. This was news to me, but my son and his friend had a trip in it one morning, flown by Tony the Polish pilot, who had once been an officer in the Queen’s flight, so he knew what he was doing. He thought it had cost around £10,000 and cost several thousands to maintain. He was teaching some others to fly it,AFA members, he thought.
Also around this time questions were being asked about the way the Greig Hall was run, and in particular the way money was being spent. The aeroplane figured in this, as there were no records of it, apart from the above-mentioned AFA. Letters were sent to papers, notably by Mr. T.Jones, and the upshot was an inquiry by the Charities Commission in 1980, resulting in a new constitution, abolishing the two Trustees’ positions in favour of an elected committee, as it remains to this day. The Youth Club committee reported their scanty knowledge of the aeroplane to the Charities Commission in 1982, and they asked for more information, which we were unable to provide. They promised to look into it, but we heard no more.
The one-time trustee and director of Alcester Flying Assn. has since left the town.
These are the facts as I know them. I cannot answer your other questions, I do not know if funds were misappropriated, or if anyone got their hand smacked. I have a file on the Greig Hall newspaper cuttings, available for inspection by anyone at any time.(This has long gone, Ed)
I am sorry to be so heavy about this, but at the time I was fighting for Alcester Youth Club, and we got no money from the organisation set up for the youth of Alcester. Circumstances are different now, the Greig Hall is run properly, the people concerned are gone, it could not happen again, I believe. The Youth Club runs at the Trades and Labour Club, thanks to their generosity. But the unexorcised Spirit of an Aeroplane still flies over the Town : perhaps the time is ripe for a ceremony of burial. Any suggestions?
Yours Bill Bayley