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Villagers pledge more than £50,000 to save their local pub from closure

PUBLISHED: 08:40 22 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:29 12 November 2017

The Crown Inn at Northwold. 
Picture: Sonya Duncan

The Crown Inn at Northwold. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2008

Villagers have pledged more than £50,000 to save their local pub.

Northwold and Whittington Community Benefit Society was set up three weeks ago.

It hopes to raise £300,000 to buy the Crown Inn, at Northwold, which is due to close at the end of the month.

They are being supported by Abbie Panks, vice-chair of Shouldham Community Enterprises, which raised more than £200,000 to buy and re-open the King’s Arms, at nearby Shouldham, three years ago.

Shares are being offered in the Crown at £50 apiece. So far more than 50 pledges - including one of £10,000 - have been received.

The average is £973, according to the group’s fundraising website.

Mark Vanderstay, chairman of the steering group, posted the appeal was “off to a blazing start” with more than £50,000 pledged.

“Northwold, Whittington and those further afield should be very proud of yourselves,” he added. “In only two weeks you’ve shown your valuable commitment to this project.

“There are fundraisers, crowd-funding and other sources of finance yet to come and they will all be buoyed by the fact the community has shown themselves to be so willing.”

Mr Vanderstay said: “I’ve got a stack of pledge forms in front of me. It’s way better than we expected, we’re seriously enthused by the fact the community’s behind us, it’s a vote of confidence is us.

“There will soon be a formal share offer and we’ll be doing somw crowdfunding as well, which will go worldwide.”

The parish council has applied to register the crown as a community asset, which if approved would give the village six months to raise the remainder of the money needed to bid for the pub. But it does not guarantee them the right to buy the business, which would be subject to agreeing a price with its current owners.

If it closes for good, Northwold would lose its last pub. The Save the Crown Inn website says: “With our busy lives and ease of click and deliver, it’s easy to miss that a village is more than a collection of houses.

“It needs points of connection with your neighbours, it needs the opportunities to create a community that casual contact in shops and public houses used to provide.”

To pledge, go online to http://savethecrowninn.uk/.

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