A CEREMONY has been held to mark the handover of keys for Silsden Town Hall.

Management of the Kirkgate building has been taken over, on behalf of the community, by seven trustees.

The final lease is still to be signed, but Bradford Council has passed the administration of the premises to the Friends of Silsden Town Hall, now a registered charity.

Cash-cutting council bosses decided two years ago to close several community buildings across the district unless groups came forward to take on the management.

"There was no way we could allow such a special community facility to close down," said Ray Colling, chairman of the Silsden Town Hall trustees.

"The hall is in very good hands, nevertheless we shall need the continuing support of the public if we are to make an outstanding success of the venture.

"We are really keen to welcome imaginative and creative ideas."

The hall already provides a permanent base for a dozen groups and the Friends organise a variety of events.

A bookings clerk, caretaker and cleaners have been appointed and trustee David Jessup is to be operations manager.

There has also been a surge in volunteer helpers, particularly following the town's recent gas crisis when the building provided warmth and refreshments for affected residents.