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Brenda pays the fine as library reopens

By This is Kent  |  Posted: February 24, 2009

Library boss Cath Anley prises a £26 cheque out of Brenda Blethyn’s hand for a rather late book return.

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OSCAR-nominated actress Brenda Blethyn officially opened the new Ramsgate Library – and paid the fine on an overdue book in the same visit.

Little Voice star Brenda made a sentimental speech to a large crowd before revealing she owed library owners Kent County Council £26.

She said: "I used to come to the old library as a child. It is wonderful to see the library open with such style and all this space for chatting, which you couldn’t do in my day.

"I was worried about a library book which was overdue and my dad said: ‘here’s three pence, go take it back.’ On the bus I got a bit peckish so I spent the money on a Wagon Wheel instead. Based on a penny fine a week I have a cheque for the library for £26."

Brenda told the Thanet Times how impressed she was with the new look library, rebuilt after a devastating fire on Friday, August 13 2004.

She said: "When I was little I told my dad ‘you have to be clever to go to a library’ and he said: ‘you become clever by going to a library."

KCC library boss Cath Anley said: "I’m absolutely chuffed.

"The new library has a bright and dynamic interior – it really has the wow factor. I’m proud of the staff."

Library friends chairman Jocelyn McCarthy showed off the new stained glass window designed by schoolkids under the careful eye of artist John Corely.

He said: "We hope to develop a reading garden with benches and a shelter so people can sit out on a summer evening and enjoy a book. The area could also be used for children’s activities. We hope to start in the spring and have it ready for the summer."

The friends group has received a £2,000 cheque towards the new works from the town’s councillors.

Ramsgate mayor Kay Dark and councillors Steve Ward, David Green, Mike Taylor and Alan Poole were at the event offering their support.

Cllr Green, whose IT office at Clarendon House overlooks the site, said: "I’ve been able to watch it grow and am pleased to see it finished. It’s good to see so many people enjoying it."

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