Christmas came early for users of one Lancashire library this week.
READ MORE: Fulwood library will reopen “soon”
They got the best possible present when the doors to Fulwood library re-opened 14 months after it was closed in a council economy drive.
There to perform the official opening was one youngster whose belief the Garstang Road library would open again never wavered - 12 year old Oliver Porter.
He was invited to join Lancashire County Council leader Coun Geoff Driver to co-open the venue watched by a crowd of around 100 people.
Oliver and his mother Jane had fought a dedicated campaign against the library closure, collecting nearly 4,000 signatures for a protest petition. When the Conservatives took power at county hall in May they vowed to reopen all of the libraries which were closed by the previous administration.
Coun Driver said : “Oliver has been coming here since he as a baby and when they were closing and staff were having a farewell do with a cup of tea for the regulars Oliver was invited but said he wasn’t going because it was going to reopen.”
Describing the re-opening was “absolutely fabulous”, he added: “It was a great shame it was closed. It’s cost a lot of money to reopen it.”
Oliver said of his moment of fame: “It felt good - I like reading books and borrowing them from here and I like printing.”
Mum Jane, a dentist at Royal Preston Hospital, said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic. It’s brilliant. Oliver’s faith never wavered at all. It’s brilliant for the community as well.”
Urging the public to use the library "even more" she added that, as the facility has been equipped as a multi-purpose space, it would be good to see it used for plays and other performances.
Mum Gemma Jones (pictured) was there to sign up her new twins Tilly and Stanley, as new members. and said: "I think it's wonderful because it's giving my two newest members of the family somewhere close by where they can get into books from a really early age and maybe have some fun and games if they do the baby sessions."
She added that her daughter Scarlett, three, had enjoyed attending the Baby Bounce and Rhyme sessions at the library previously.
Meanwhile veteran charity knitter Arthur Wilkinson, 84, hopes the library's knitting group will re-start. Sitting at a table, knitting a bobble hat, he said: "I learned to knit when I was ten at the end of the war when the army was coming back and a lot of them had no clothes, We had to make square patches which were sewed up to make blankets to wrap people in."
Arthur said he now makes 80 -100 bobble hats a year for a local charity and hopes a knitting group can be re-established at the library, perhaps meeting twice monthly. He said: "Twelve to 15 people used to come. I felt like crying when it closed so I was jubilant when I heard it was re-opening."
New library manager Orsolya Wilkinson said: "I feel excited at the re-opening and happy to see all the people coming in and coming back and asking about all the activities and groups they would like to re-establish, which we are more than happy to do."
An activity "wish tree" has been set up in the libary and the public are being invited to write suggestions for things they want to see happening at the library and hang their wish on the tree.
The library will be open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 9am - 5pm, on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm and on Wednesdays from 9am to 7pm.