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'Final push' to complete Stoke Ferry pub purchase, despite flood damage

The fight to save a West Norfolk village’s last remaining pub has been hampered after the building was damaged by flooding.

Campaigners say they are close to completing a deal to buy the Blue Bell premises in Stoke Ferry.

But they have now made a fresh appeal for help to fix damage, which it is feared could cost up to £20,000 to repair, caused by a recent water main burst at the site.

The Blue Bell, Stoke Ferry.
The Blue Bell, Stoke Ferry.

The pipe is believed to have broken following wintry weather in February.

Fundraising activities are continuing and leaders of the Save The Blue Bell group are calling for businesses to get behind what they say is the “final push” to community ownership.

Chairman Stephen Ward said: “We are on the cusp of a huge change for Stoke Ferry and a tiny bit more help in terms of investment or practical support will mean that we can all crack on and make what is bound to be an extraordinary summer a very special one indeed for the village.

“This final push will make all the difference.”

So far, the campaign has accrued support worth £280,000 for its bid to buy the pub, which has now been closed for more than three years.

A total of £115,000 has been raised through the sale of shares, with another £150,000 generated through grants and loans, plus £15,000 worth of in kind support.

The group says it expects to complete the purchase of the premises “soon” and has drawn up a full list of materials and equipment needed to fix the flood damage.

Any companies that would be willing to get involved are asked to email info@bluebellstokeferry.org for more details

Meanwhile, fundraising activities are continuing with a village Easter egg hunt, which has been supported by donations from the supermarket chains Tesco, Morrisons and Iceland, as well as villagers.

Around 100 youngsters are expected to take part in the activity, which will see numbered golf balls hidden around the village.

And Mr Ward paid tribute to what he described as the “extraordinary” effort within Stoke Ferry and other nearby villages to create a new asset for the wider community.

He said: “The New Blue Bell will not be like any pub the village has seen before. It has a strong mission to serve the entire community.

“Good food and drink - from coffee and cakes to beer and pies - are of course at the heart of it, but it will be so much more than a pub, offering lunches for the elderly and isolated, a community-run garden, prescription drop-off and pick-up, history archive and events, and so much more.

“The fantastic response to Blue Bell events throughout the last year has shown how much the community wants to come together to socialise and to support each other.”

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