THE Regal Cinema in Fordingbridge has reopened its doors after closing more than 50 years ago.

The transformed cinema in Shaftesbury Street was due to show its first return film, Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart, on Friday for Fordingbridge Regal Cinema Club members.

On Saturday a special open day was held to unveil the cinema to the whole community.

The Regal Cinema first opened in 1933 but closed in 1965 before it became a pottery business. The pottery business closed in 2012 and in 2016 Corintech purchased the site.

Brian Currie, Corintech’s owner and chairman, said: “I just had the idea of making it into a small cinema that will be sustainable.

“I wanted it to benefit the community.”

The cinema will be run by the Fordingbridge Regal Cinema Club and the community are invited to become members.

“Everyone has been brilliantly supportive,” added Mr Currie.

The cinema, which has retained its art deco style, will have 30 seats. The project cost £1million.

Mr Currie also hopes the cinema will bring people into the town, adding: “I would like the cinema to help other businesses.”

The cinema will screen classics as well as a modern films. It is also hoped there will be Saturday morning screenings for children.

“This, I feel, is a legacy for Corintech. It is a nice legacy to give something back to the community who have been really good to Corintech,” said Mr Currie. “I really like the idea of giving something back.”

Emma Goddard, who has been involved with the project, said: “We really just want anyone interested in being members or having a look at what we have done to come along. It is for the local community to see how it has been transformed into a really beautiful cinema.”

A team of volunteers will help with the running of the cinema.

Ms Goddard added: “It is fantastic that so many people have signed up to become volunteers. We are going to be extremely dependent on their support.”

As part of the project seven apartments have been built, which will be used by the electronics company to recruit young engineers.

Fordingbridge Mayor, councillor Malcolm Connolly, said: “I am absolutely delighted that somebody has taken on the cinema and refurbished it and is opening it as it was all those years ago. It is a terrific amenity for local people and I hope it will be well attended. I am sure it will be an asset.

“We would just like to thank Brian Currie and his team at the Regal Cinema for taking on such a bold venture and wish them every success. It is something that should be supported.”