Village rallies to save Beeston’s pub The Ploughshare before time is called
- Credit: Ian Burt
Villagers are fighting to save a 16th century pub which has historical links to a legendary former boxing world champion and the Second World War.
Campaigners need to raise £350,000 to buy The Ploughshare at Beeston, near Dereham, and face a race against time with the pub's Asset of Community Value status due to expire on June 4.
This will mean the pub could then be demolished and villagers believe plans are being made to build six homes on the site.
A committee of 16 people, along with 40 helpers, are fighting to save the pub.
Committee member Louise Dennett said: 'We are going to do it. There is no doubt in my mind.
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'This campaign has really brought the community together and everyone is determined to make sure we are successful.'
Campaigners are receiving advice from residents of Shouldham, near King's Lynn, who saved The Kings Arms pub in 2014.
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They are establishing a company, Beeston Community Enterprise Ltd, and aim to raise money by selling shares, securing grants and donations and by organising local fund-raising events.
The pub has been closed since January.
Committee member Julie Lawrence said: 'The pub has opened and closed a few times but for a couple of years recently it was really thriving.
'The people here know what they want from their local pub so if we are running it I'm sure we could make a success of it.
'This pub is the heart of the village where everybody meets and makes friends and if we can't save it now it will be gone forever.'
Beeston is known for its beer as it is home to the award-winning Beeston Brewery.
Mrs Lawrence said: 'It would be ridiculous for a village with a CAMRA award-winning brewery to not have a pub in it.'
Stuart Pilbrow, director of The Joli Ltd, which owns the pub, said: 'There is no ill will between myself and the campaigners.
'I am more than happy to sell the building to them if they can raise the money.
'I have also offered to rent it to them for a year to see if they can make a success of it before deciding whether or not to buy it.
''I can't wait forever, though, and if they can't raise the money to buy it and don't want to rent it then they will need to leave me to get on with doing something with it.
'I think anyone who owned that building would feel the same.'
Campaigners have set up a Save Beeston Ploughshare Pub Facebook page and are looking for as many people as possible to engage with it.
There is also a Beeston Ploughshare Twitter account.
Anyone who would like to offer help directly or requires further information can e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07702 481984.
Are you campaigning to save something in your community? E mail email@example.com