MORE than 100 people flocked to a new performance space, which had formerly been a derelict toilet block, for its official unveiling.

The then Victorian gentlemen’s toilet block, in Pill, Newport, was considered an eyesore by residents for decades.

But that changed after new owner Janet Martin spent an eye-watering £70,000 to convert the site into The Phyllis Maud Performance Space.

And yesterday, people from all walks of life attended the official unveiling.

A brass band set the tune for the celebratory event, with various other performance acts also performing to the crowds of people.

Following Katy Arnell’s initial welcoming, Dame Rosemary Butler took to the stage to welcome people.

“This is a wonderful performance space,” she said.

“It is a privilege to be here today and I am proud to call Janet a friend.

“Janet hopes that people will use this. She has developed this site for the community.”

Owner Janet Martin then revealed her hopes that the site will be popular with the “best part of Newport”.

“I have always like this building for as long as I have lived in Newport,” she said.

“As the years went by I thought I needed to do something with the building. I then decided to turn it into a performance space.

“I really want this site to be used by the community. It has been given a new lease of life.

“I wanted to give something to the best part of Newport and that is what I have done.”

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Jim Smith, who used to clean the former toilet block during the 1970s and ‘80s, proceed onto to the stage to officially unveil the building by cutting the ribbon.

Following a sterling round of applause, the 94-year-old said: “I know Phyllis, who the site is named after, will be looking down with happiness.

“I am proud to be here today.”

The Phyllis Maud Performance Space is named after Mrs Martin’s late aunt, who used her inheritance to transform the building into a performance space.

The site has an audience capacity of 35.

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