THE new Parish Rooms have been officially opened in the heart of Burley-in-Wharfedale.

After a celebratory service at St Mary's Church, the congregation processed down Main Street and Station Road to the brand new building.

The Right Rev Dr David James, Bishop of Bradford, blessed the new church buildings before three-year-old Atalanta Shaw cut the ribbon.

Atalanta is the great niece of Bill and Nancy Jepson, who bequeathed the land to the church, and whose generosity has been commemorated by naming a top floor room after them.

Atalanta's mother, Caroline Shaw, said: "The building is a triumph and the family is so thrilled that Bill and Nancy will live on in your thriving and warm community."

Around 200 people thronged the building after the opening ceremony, drinking Buck's Fizz and fruit juice to celebrate.

The main room, known as the Garden Room, has a glass patio door spanning one entire wall, which opens out on to a decked garden area. The Garden Room can seat around 50 and will be the perfect spot for young families to meet up.

A second ground floor area is called Open Door and contains comfortable seating aimed at older people. The Mothers' Union will run a soup kitchen at lunchtimes there.

Each ground floor room has a small kitchen and there is another, main kitchen upstairs. Twenty volunteers are being trained in food hygiene so they can prepare food for events.

The hi-tech Jepson Room upstairs will host business conferences and meetings, and is next-door to a smaller room that will be used as the churches' administration office.

Centre manager Paul Evans said: "It is a community service so there will be no charge for the services, although donations are welcome.

"We will basically be playing it all by ear, depending on what people want and how many volunteers we have. Right now we have around 50 volunteers from the four village churches."

The Parish Rooms have already taken some bookings for parties and language classes, and the first event will be held on June 11.