A toast to success. Kings Arms pub in Shouldham reopens after campaign to save it succeeds
© Archant Norfolk 2014
A village which campaigned to buy and save its threatened pub will soon be raising a glass to its re-opening.
The Kings Arms at Shouldham, will open to the public on Friday September 12, two years after it was closed down.
Villagers and people from as far as Hong Kong, raised £150,000 towards the cost of buying the pub, with grants from the Department of Communities and Local Government, Pub is the Hub and the Geoffrey Watling Charity covering the rest of the £225,000 needed for the freehold.
The EDP-backed Save Our Kings Arms campaign included quiz nights chaired by editor Nigel Pickover, and Stephen Fry tweeting his support to his 7m-plus Twitter followers.
Ian Skinner now manages the pub and will move in with his partner Abbie Panks, when work is completed.
Mr Skinner said: “There has always been a great community spirit here, so many people gave given up so much of their time to get this place up and running again.
“Building work started here in March and finished last month, it’s now just about doing the final finishing touches, getting the staff ready and making sure everything is ready.
“The pub used to look a bit dirty and dingy, but the new colour scheme is really impressive.”
Inside the pub, work has been done to move the bar and create more space by removing the stairwell.
There will also be a cafe adjoined to the pub which is expected to be used by parents during their school run.
Mr Skinner said: “People had to travel a fair bit if they wanted to go to a pub or a cafe.
“We had to prove that we are a community asset so we are offering people a pub, we are offering them a cafe and as well as that, we shall be providing school dinners for the school down the road from January.
“This will give the children fresh, locally sourced and very good value meals.”
The Kings Arms will open up with a beer festival between September 12 and September 14.
There will be over 20 real ales, over 10 ciders and live music and food on offer.