Here's some really good news - and although it's about something that has happened in Evesham, I think you need to know about it wherever you live in Worcestershire.

Last week the Regal Cinema in Port Street, Evesham reopened. Those few words are the culmination of a very long story. What they mean is that Worcestershire now has a fine, independent cinema with a varied programme of films that will appeal to children, fans of the blockbusters and film buffs. To be there with the cinema's patron, local boy, the impressionist and actor, Alistair McGowan, for the opening night, was a real joy.

The cinema is also different in quality from anything I have seen before. Restored to its Art Deco glory, it's a pleasure just to be in. But it doesn't stop there. The seating is very different too. Downstairs it has tables, chairs and a bar so you can sit in luxury looking up at the screen with an uninterrupted view, while upstairs the balcony has the biggest, most comfortable cinema seats (including wide arm rest free double seats) I have ever seen - and there's another bar too.

The really important thing, though, is that this is a community venture. Yes, the leadership has come from a remarkable family, the Wipers, but they have achieved this spectacular coup only because of the unstinting help of local people. The community has worked hard and raised funds to make this wonderful place a reality. The have been supported too by Wychavon district council and the Evesham Market Town Partnership as well as grants from Advantage West Midlands and the Heritage Lottery Fund. I am delighted to have been able to play a modest part in ensuring the whole thing came together.

It's a heartwarming story with a really happy end. Well, I hope it is. Now all the Regal needs is an audience. I recommend you get the programme and buy a ticket. It's worth the drive!


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