Prestwick's iconic Broadway Cinema was officially handed over to the community today  - exactly 89 years since it first opened its doors.

The key to the building is now in the hands of Friends of the Broadway, the community group set up to restore the cinema and open it up for new audiences.

The Friends of the Broadway were given £328,060 from the Scottish Land Fund to buy the Main Street building at a much reduced price from former owners, restaurant chain Buzzworks.

And today, Buzzworks boss Colin Blair officially handed over the key to chair of the Friends of the Broadway trustees Professor Guy Walker.

The Art Deco gem on Main Street, fondly remembered by generations of Ayrshire film fans, will be brought into community ownership and redeveloped into a cinema, multi-purpose entertainment venue, and inclusive space that will benefit the whole community.

Ayr Advertiser: Buzzworks boss Colin Blair with chair of the Broadway trustees Professor Guy Walker.Buzzworks boss Colin Blair with chair of the Broadway trustees Professor Guy Walker. (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

Guy, a director of learning and teaching at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, is also a former cinema projectionist.

He said: "To the people of Prestwick, this is now yours.

"Some 89 years ago, in 1935, people were fighting to get into the foyer to see the Broadway for the first time. Now the Broadway is definitely coming back. 

"Thank you to everyone who made this dream come true. And huge thanks to our funders and new best friends at the Scottish Land Fund.

"We also have to thank South Ayrshire Council who supported our vision for this building and Colin Blair for the support of Buzzworks who reduced the asking price by a huge amount for us.

"And huge thanks also to the Friends of the Broadway trustees and directors. This enormous building now belongs to the community.

"It has been a long journey to get this wonderful building back into use. It says a lot about the community spirit in Prestwick."

Ayr Advertiser: Prestwick Academy's Broadway board of directors with the key

Senior students from Prestwick Academy, who have their own Broadway board of directors, were in attendance to watch the handover.

Built in 1935, the Broadway is a surviving example of Scotland’s golden age of cinema; a time when even the biggest movie releases were brought to local high streets to be enjoyed by all ages.

Originally seating more than 1,000 people, large parts of the building remain unchanged; cigarette ends still linger in the circle’s ashtrays, and the projection room appears as a time capsule, with reels and equipment in the same spot as when they were last used.

The last film at the Broadway was shown in 1976, and after that the building was put to many uses, including a leisure centre, amusement arcade, and squash courts.

But it's the Friends of the Broadway who will now restore the historic building to its original purpose.

Ayr Advertiser: Guy Walker addresses the handover event

With heritage preservation at the core of the charity’s aims, the building will be brought back to life in partnership with architects Burrell Foley Fischer, who specialise in the heritage cinema and theatre design.

The original Art Deco features of the cinema will be honoured, with new additional features that will ensure it is accessible and convenient for modern day visitors.

And locals will get their chance to see more of the cinema at a free community event this weekend.

Drop by on Saturday, May 4 between 11am and 4pm to get a peek inside the building and find out more about the restoration plan.