Villagers pledge thousands to help save Northwold pub

The Crown Inn at Northwold.
The Crown Inn at Northwold.

In just a matter of weeks, residents in one West Norfolk village have pledged more than £45,000 to help save their local pub.

The campaign to raise £300,000 in order to buy the Crown Inn at Northwold was launched three weeks ago, and in that time, pledges of between £50 and £10,000 have been made.

Steering group committee chairman Mark Vanderstay said: “We are now in the process of setting up a bank account and we are raising some funds to organise a survey of the building and the business to find out its market value.”

The campaign has received about 50 pledges so far, with £1,000 being the amount promised the most.

Mr Vanderstay said the Northwold and Whittington Community Benefit Society is still collecting pledges before going out and asking for the money once the bank account is set up.

“We are taking it one step at a time – we have almost finalised a business plan now as well. It is all coming together.

“Sometimes it feels like not a lot is happening, but we have gone from nothing to a registered society, and we have got the support of the community behind us.”

Fundraising events are also planned to boost the appeal.

“Winter will be a bit of a challenge, and we will have to think of suitable events, possibly indoors,” Mr Vanderstay said.

“Northwold has a tradition of celebrating Plough Monday where the plough gets blessed, and this starts and finishes at the pub.

“The pub is going to be closed in January so we are trying to find a way of involving the sports and social club and using that as a fundraising event.”

The next steps for the group will include the verdict of the parish council’s application to make the pub an asset of community value (ACV) which is expected by the middle of next month.

If approved, the designation would give the community a six month window to complete a purchase.

Mr Vanderstay said the campaign will continue regardless of the outcome.

“Our final milestone in this project is community ownership of the pub by spring or summer next year.

“Once the bank account is set up, we will be fully in fundraising mode.”

In a post on the campaign website, Mr Vanderstay said: “Northwold, Whittington and those further afield should be very proud of yourselves. In only two weeks you’ve shown your valuable commitment to this project.

“There are fundraisers, crowd-funding and other sources of finance yet to come and they will all be buoyed by the fact the community has shown themselves to be so willing.”

To find out more about the campaign, or to pledge to it, visit: www.savethecrowninn.uk or call 01366 308381.