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Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Page: 751

Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (13:29): I rise today to celebrate a milestone event in my electorate that I had the pleasure of attending last week and to recognise the hard work of the Newcastle community. Last Friday the Regal Cinema in Birmingham Gardens reopened after a tireless six-year community campaign for the retention, renovation and eventual reopening of this wonderful heritage listed community cinema.

The Regal Cinema was first opened in 1950 and had a loyal patronage of more than 34,000 a year. Former Labor Lord Mayor of Newcastle, the late Greg Heys, set up Friends of the Regal in the 1990s and the cinema was classified by the National Trust in October 2006. Despite the Friends' initial work to save the cinema, it sadly shut in 2006 in need of extensive refurbishment and repairs. The building was earmarked for sale and destined for demolition, but was fortunately saved by a last-minute change of heart by the elected council, following years of hard work by the Friends of the Regal and the heartfelt pleas from the film sector. The Labor state member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery MP, secured a grant of nearly $150,000 for the refurbishment. Newcastle City Council handed over the building to a community and industry trust. The cinema underwent significant upgrades and is now open again to the public.

I would like to congratulate Jo Smith, David Horkan, Christopher Saunders, the Friends of the Regal, Newcastle City Council and the wider community who supported the fundraisers and came out in force to ensure that every seat in the cinema was sponsored. Thank you for believing in this project and thank you for never giving up.