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Bid to save village pub raises £200,000 in three weeks

PUBLISHED: 09:39 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:28 08 September 2020

Alex Begg with Laura Cross and her son Freddie in front of the Swan at Gressenhall. Laura is wearing a virtual reality headset, which has been programmed so that people can see plans of how the pub will look. Picture: Tony Buckingham

Alex Begg with Laura Cross and her son Freddie in front of the Swan at Gressenhall. Laura is wearing a virtual reality headset, which has been programmed so that people can see plans of how the pub will look. Picture: Tony Buckingham

© Tony Buckingham/ UNP 0845 600 7737

Villagers fighting to save a historic pub are thrilled that just over £200,000 has been raised in just three weeks.

The Save Our Swan campaign mascot Chilli with a sign showing the total reached so far: £200,200. It's part of a community campaign to buy and renovate the Swan pub at Gressenhall. Picture: Supplied by Donna ChessumThe Save Our Swan campaign mascot Chilli with a sign showing the total reached so far: £200,200. It's part of a community campaign to buy and renovate the Swan pub at Gressenhall. Picture: Supplied by Donna Chessum

But the people behind the Save Our Swan campaign, which aims to restore Gressenhall’s White Swan to its former glory, have called for a final push to hit their target before a deadline.

Shares are being sold in the former coaching inn, which has stood empty since it closed in 2018.

Donna Chessum, from Gressenhall Community Enterprise (CAG), which set up the campaign, said a further £30,000 in shares had to be sold by the end of September to get them over the line.

She said so far 200 investors had bought shares in the pub - which are being sold for between £50 and £20,000.

An artist's impression of what The Swan in Gressenhall could look like following its planned redevelopment. Picture: Courtesy of Gressenhall Community EnterpriseAn artist's impression of what The Swan in Gressenhall could look like following its planned redevelopment. Picture: Courtesy of Gressenhall Community Enterprise

Mrs Chessum said: “This is a fantastic amount to have raised in such a short time and it is testament to the amazing support of our community to save the last pub in the village.

“We’re getting so close now to having raised enough to buy the White Swan and to start renovations.

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“But we still need at least another £30,000 by the end of September which is an awful lot of money to raise in a short space of time.

Community members in front of the Swan pub in Gressenhall, which they are hoping to reopen as a community pub. Pictured are, back row, Alex Begg, Claudia Pollinger, Nikki Neale, Simon Cleare,Chris Smith, Pam Neale, Sarah Jarvis, Rosie Begg, Ben Philo, Dominic Chessum, Tim Jarvis, front, Laura Cross and her son Freddie. Picture: Tony BuckinghamCommunity members in front of the Swan pub in Gressenhall, which they are hoping to reopen as a community pub. Pictured are, back row, Alex Begg, Claudia Pollinger, Nikki Neale, Simon Cleare,Chris Smith, Pam Neale, Sarah Jarvis, Rosie Begg, Ben Philo, Dominic Chessum, Tim Jarvis, front, Laura Cross and her son Freddie. Picture: Tony Buckingham

“However, with 50 more £50 investors, 10 more £500 investments and a few bigger ones we can chip away at that amount and together we can save the Swan.”

MORE: You can now own part of this pub for just £50

The CAG is hoping to raise the rest of the £350,000 it needs to buy and renovate the pub through social investment loans.

Its plan is to turn the pub into a community hub - following in the footsteps of thousands of other village pubs and shops across the country - including several in Norfolk, which are now run by their communities.

Mrs Chessum said: “Our message to anyone who is thinking of investing is to not delay and to get their application in soon.

Community members in front of the Swan pub in Gressenhall, which they are hoping to reopen as a community pub. Pictured are, back row, Adam Begg, Claudia Pollinger, Nikki Neale, Simon Cleare,Chris Smith, Pam Neale, Sarah Jarvis, Rosie Begg, Ben Philo, Dominic Chessum, Tim Jarvis, front, Laura Cross and her son Freddie. Picture: Tony BuckinghamCommunity members in front of the Swan pub in Gressenhall, which they are hoping to reopen as a community pub. Pictured are, back row, Adam Begg, Claudia Pollinger, Nikki Neale, Simon Cleare,Chris Smith, Pam Neale, Sarah Jarvis, Rosie Begg, Ben Philo, Dominic Chessum, Tim Jarvis, front, Laura Cross and her son Freddie. Picture: Tony Buckingham

“And to everyone who has an interest in the campaign we’re asking them to help spread the word to family and friends.

“You don’t have to live in Gressenhall to buy into the pub and to become part of our great community.”

To find out more or to download a share application form, visit www.saveourswan.co.uk






















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