Campaigners on brink of snapping up pub

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday with more than £1,200 raised from the group's family fun day. - Credit: Andy Cobbold/AMCPhotography

Villagers campaigning to save their last pub are in the final stages of purchasing the premises with help from fundraising events.

Campaigners in Stoke Ferry, near Downham Market, have announced that they are about to finalise the purchase of the Blue Bell Inn for renovation and reopening as a pub, café and community hub. 

The Lynn Road pub closed in 2018 as a result of poor trading but villagers, who formed the Save the Blue Bell group, have been campaigning throughout the pandemic to raise the funds to buy the property from its current owner Oxygen 56 Ltd.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday with more than £1,200 raised from the group's family fun day. - Credit: Rowan Barn Alpacas

People have invested in shares and the group secured funding from the More Than a Pub scheme to reopen the Blue Bell for the community, with work expected to begin the "minute the premises is secured".

The latest fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday with more than £1,200 raised from the group's family fun day.

Campaigners are also holding an open day on Saturday, June 5, for volunteers interested in helping them with renovations, working in the pub, holding community events or services.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday with more than £1,200 raised from the group's family fun day. - Credit: Andy Cobbold/AMCPhotography

The team is also launching a '200 Club' monthly cash prize draw with the aim of raising at least £1,000 each month to continue fundraising efforts for the pub's renovation and community work.

Chair Stephen Ward said: "Yet again, people turned out in great numbers to support the future of the Blue Bell as a community-owned pub, café and hub.

"We have to thank so many people and local businesses for getting involved and showing their belief in the power of communities.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday with more than £1,200 raised from the group's family fun day. - Credit: Andy Cobbold/AMCPhotography

"Every penny raised on the day will help prepare the pub to reopen just as soon as it possibly can.

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"Just as importantly, we all enjoyed a great day of fun, a taste of what the new Blue Bell will offer year-round.

"We're looking forward to meeting future volunteers on Saturday, June 5 and to start planning in detail how we can start welcoming people to the Blue Bell this summer."

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday with more than £1,200 raised from the group's family fun day. - Credit: Andy Cobbold/AMCPhotography

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday.

The latest Save the Blue Bell fundraising event took place over the Bank Holiday with more than £1,200 raised from the group's family fun day. - Credit: Andy Cobbold/AMCPhotography

The open day which will be held outside the Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry at 10am.