The Trust was established by a Trust Deed enacted on 9th September 1953 whereby a local farmer, Mr. William Rathbone, gave the land to the Village for use as a playing field and for the establishment of a village hall. On the date of the Deed, villagers had raised the sum of one hundred and two pounds, fifteen shillings and three pence towards the construction costs!
The original deed was later superseded by a Declaration of Trust from The Charity Commissioners for England and Wales dated 20th July 1995. This remains the governing order for the Trust’s Committee of Management (the Trustees). At that time, three Life Members were appointed including Bill Rathbone (son of William whose generous donation created the Trust) and Mike Robinson who remain in place today. In addition to three life members, other members of the Committee of Management are elected at the annual general meeting or are nominated by societies based in the Village. All members except the Life Members retire at the end of the year but may be re-elected or re-appointed.
The role of the Trust within the Village is to provide facilities for recreational activities and society/club meetings. The Trust has a large grassed open area (Cuckoo Meadow), including two football goalposts, a children’s play area, a tennis court, a grass BMX track and the Rathbone Pavilion comprising a main meeting room, a smaller room (the Doris Cook room), kitchen and toilets.
The recreational area is used for fêtes and similar events such as the summer “Big Lunch” which has been held since 2012. The Rathbone Pavilion is used for regular meetings such as Pre-School, Puddleducks, the Youth Club,Women’s Institute and the Gardening Club; additionally the rooms are available for occasional hire for private functions.
The Trust owns the car park for use by visitors to Cuckoo Meadow and the Rathbone Pavilion; it is also available to North Waltham Primary School by arrangement.