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Stephen Fry boosts Stoke Ferry pub cause with support coming in from Utah and New Zealand

A West Norfolk campaign to save a village pub has been publicly boosted by a famous actor.

Norfolk-born celebrity Stephen Fry has shown his support for the Save the Blue Bell Campaign in Stoke Ferry this week by posting on his social media account about the cause.

Mr Fry tweeted yesterday about the importance of saving community pubs to "offer meals and fight the epidemic of loneliness."

In response to the tweet, the campaign has received funds from as far New Zealand and Utah.

The celebrity shared a link to the Blue Bell Campaign website with his 12m followers as he described the pub as a "pioneering example".

Campaigners are raising funds to buy the pub by offering shares. They now need between £30,000 and £40,000 to secure the pub for the community after originally setting a target of £180,000 to buy it.

The Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry
The Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry

The campaign group's website also states there would be £80,000 to renovate and reopen the building, and a further £20,000 working capital in addition to the initial £180,000.

Reacting to Mr Fry's support, chairman of the campaign Stephen Ward said it was a "terrific boost" to promote the share sale.

Mr Ward added: “We contacted Stephen Fry and he was really interested in the idea and how we can use community pubs to tackle isolation and loneliness. Of course he’s a Norfolk boy, so that played a part too.

"Stephen has over 12m followers on Twitter, so this is a terrific boost for our efforts to promote the share sale. More importantly, everyone recognises that his support is considered and significant.

"His was not a casual tweet, but a thoughtful buy-in to a serious Norfolk community project.

"It is so important that communities work together as we re-emerge from the pandemic and rebuild better. We hope that Stephen’s support will encourage even more potential investors in Stoke Ferry, Wretton, Whittington, West Dereham, Wereham and elsewhere to dig deep for the future of this community.

"Immediately following Stephen’s tweet, investments came from places as far afield as Utah and New Zealand, demonstrating the resonance of this campaign."

The share offer is open until the end of January with shares priced at £50 each at www.bluebellstokeferry.org/buy-shares.

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