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Community raises £250,000 to save village pub

PUBLISHED: 16:43 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 03 January 2019

The residents of Beeston and the surrounding areas have raised enough to buy The Ploughshare pub. Picture: Ian Burt

The residents of Beeston and the surrounding areas have raised enough to buy The Ploughshare pub. Picture: Ian Burt

A village community which has been fighting to save a 16th century pub has raised enough funds to buy it and plans to reopen it within the next few months.

The Ploughshare pub in Beeston. Picture: Ian BurtThe Ploughshare pub in Beeston. Picture: Ian Burt

Beeston Community Enterprises (BCE) has now raised the £250,000 needed to buy The Ploughshare in Beeston, between Dereham and Fakenham, from selling shares and receiving grants in a campaign which has lasted over two-and-a-half years.

BCE, which is made up of residents of Beeston as well as supporters from outside the village, was formed amid concerns the pub would be sold to housing developers and since then, has had to fight off several planning applications.

Solicitors are currently in the process of organising the sale of the pub but it is aiming to be reopened by early spring.

Henry Dennett, chairman of BCE, is delighted that the pub can soon be reopened and said: “We have finally got there. People really care about this pub.

Boxing legend Jem Mace (1831-1910) Date not knownBoxing legend Jem Mace (1831-1910) Date not known

“What’s really impressive is that when you break the money down, it’s £100,000 of grants and £155,000 from shares and £105,000 came from within the village of Beeston itself.

“We will do some refurbishing after the sale goes through and open after that. We have lots of volunteers who will help.”

The Ploughshare has links to legendary 19th century boxing world champion Jem Mace, who used to organise boxing contests in the pub’s car park, and is located next to his former home.

It was also popular with American soldiers during the Second World War and was used as a place to drink by the American Airforce 392nd Bombardment Group.

With enough money being raised to buy the pub, BCE is now looking for someone to come in and manage it on a permanent basis.

The group is also in the process of applying for a further grant of £40,000 to provide some working capital for the establishment.

Anyone wanting to express an interest in managing the pub can contact Henry Dennett on 07702 481984.

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