Two Norfolk landlords are at the forefront of a national grassroots fight to protect pubs as they cope with the “monumental” challenge of coronavirus.

Eastern Daily Press: Dawn Hopkins has been a landlady in Norwich for almost 20 years. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodDawn Hopkins has been a landlady in Norwich for almost 20 years. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood (Image: Jamie HoneywoodArchantNorwichNorfolk)

The Campaign for Pubs has been launched by prominent licensees, leading pub campaigners, small brewers and pub lovers to promote and support pubs.

Inviting both landlords and customers to stand together, it aims to provide a freer, fairer and more sustainable sector, and has been created in response to the threat many are facing amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Pubs have been forced to close since March 20, and there are major concerns over what their future will look like in a socially distanced world.

Dawn Hopkins, licensee of The Rose Inn, on Queens Road, is the group’s vice-chairman, while Victoria MacDonald, licensee of both The Cellar House in Eaton and the Old Ram Coaching Inn in Tivetshall St Mary, is a national executive committee member. Ms Hopkins, who has been in the industry for 20 years, said it needed a clear voice to help shape future decisions.

“Any decisions being made about moving forward aren’t being made by licensees or people who use them,” she said. “It’s being made by lobbyists for big brewery groups.

“It’s been ridiculous, really - we just don’t know what’s happening. If we open with social distancing, as it looks like we will, the impact will be immense.”

She said there had been significant challenges to the pub industry in recent years, including the smoking ban in 2007 and supermarkets selling beer cheaply, but that coronavirus had been “monumental”.

You can find out more about the campaign, which is a member organisation of the British Pub Confederation, on Twitter, by visiting its page @campaignforpubs.

Joining the Campaign for Pubs costs £25 a year, or £40 for a couple. Members will become part of a national network of those who care about pubs and their future, and their subscription will fund campaigning work on key issues.

MORE: ‘We won’t open in 2020’ - landlords fear washout for pub industry