Broadcaster, Esther Rantzen, opened the latest phase of Romsey’s community art gallery, Rum’s Eg, on Saturday.
The TV presenter, who lives in the New Forest, cut the ribbon to officially open the new education and community spaces – the Leckford Art Studio and Longstock Meeting Room – and the first floor café.
Esther was very impressed with the Bell Street venue and before she left she wrote in the comments book: “What an asset for Romsey to have this fabulous art education centre. I’ll be back!”
She was presented with a bouquet by Chyna Fowler, from Romsey Young Carers Group, which had taken part in a recent paper-cutting workshop at the gallery.
Esther also got a view of Rums Eg’s latest exhibition “Out of The Blue”, running until April 20, in which artists have reflected the theme of the sea in paintings, textiles, glass, metal, ceramics and jewellery.
Rum’s Eg was set up by botanical artist, Siriol Sherlock, as a creative centre and is run by a Community Interest Company to nurture and promote artistic talent, as well as to encourage the education and participation in the arts of the local community.
Siriol says: “This marks a very important stage in our development when we are finally able to see the fruition of the generous donation of £10,000 from Waitrose Community Matters Fund and significant grants from Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council which have helped us to reach our target and open our education suite to the public.
“We were delighted and honoured that Esther has been able to give up her time to help us celebrate the achievement in which so many have played a part.”
Since it was finished a couple of weeks ago, the Leckford Art Studio has held a knitting workshop for children with high-functioning Aspergers and autism from Oak Lodge School and some workshops for adults, including silver-clay jewellery and clay pots and tiles, forming part of a new programme of spring workshops for adults, set to include willow weaving, shaker box making, mosiacs and several drawing and painting courses.
The Longstock Meeting Room was christened by a hen party group making felt flower corsages.