Campaigners praised in national award after saving last village pub
- Credit: Blue Bell Campaign
Campaigners in a west Norfolk village have again been recognised for their efforts in saving their pub after winning a second major award.
The team behind the Save the Blue Bell Inn project in Stoke Ferry, near Downham Market, has received the 'Pub Saving Award' from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
The annual prize recognises people who have come together to save a pub that would have otherwise been demolished or converted to another use.
It comes after volunteers were given the Plunkett Foundation's Rural Community Business Award.
Villagers were determined to keep the pub in the community and came together to raise £280,000 to buy and renovate the building, gaining the support of celebrities including Stephen Fry and Stephen K Amos.
Members of the local community formed Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise Limited to purchase the pub and secured its successful buy-out in June, following 17 months of fundraising events and efforts.
Renovation is currently underway, with around 72 volunteers carrying out work to open the the Blue Bell fully as a community owned pub, café and hub in March 2022.
One of CAMRA's judges described their journey as "a tale of dogged persistence ending in triumph".
Stephen Ward, chairman of the Stoke Ferry group, said: “This prestigious award from CAMRA is fantastic recognition of the entire community of Stoke Ferry and beyond that came together to fight for the future of the Blue Bell.
"From opposing developers to raising the funds to buy the pub and now to the renovation, there has been an amazing effort by hundreds of people, made all the more impressive by the background of the pandemic."
Jeff Hoyle, of West Norfolk CAMRA, said: "The dedication and expertise of the many volunteers involved in the project has been amazing.
- 1 Norfolk village named among poshest places to live in the UK
- 2 Seven Sprowston neighbours scoop £30,000 lottery win
- 3 Should cars be banned from Norwich's steepest hill?
- 4 Air ambulance called after three people seriously injured in A47 crash
- 5 Asteroid bigger than any building on Earth to be visible in Norfolk skies
- 6 Pub landlord threatened to kill man he chased through streets with axe
- 7 Car boot sale to return after five years with up to 200 pitches
- 8 What is this mystery tower that has sprung up in Norwich?
- 9 'Man with a van' fined for dumping waste in village
- 10 Council to sell land in 'Chelsea-on-Sea'
"They deserve all the praise that they have received, but their biggest achievement will be in a few months’ time when the Blue Bell is once again open for business.
"Congratulations to all those involved.”