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Stoke Ferry turned into pub to raise vital funds for community campaign




Residents came together to turn a village into a pub for the day with more than £1,000 being raised for an ongoing campaign.

The campaign to preserve the Blue Bell pub in Stoke Ferry saw a range of activities take place in the village on Bank Holiday Monday for the cause.

A total of £1,200 was raised as live jazz music, a wine quiz, raffle and treasure hunt for children were on offer during the event.

Campaign chairman Stephen Ward, borough councillor Colin Sampson and Steve Leggett are backing the Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry. Pictures: Adam Fairbrother
Campaign chairman Stephen Ward, borough councillor Colin Sampson and Steve Leggett are backing the Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry. Pictures: Adam Fairbrother

Campaign chairman Stephen Ward said: “It was the first opportunity to show support for the campaign in a physical way in a responsibly socially distanced manner.

“Residents came out of their houses and there were about 200 people who came to the event which in a village of around 1,000 was pretty good.”

The group also have an online whisky tasting session with Amazon Prime television presenter Colin Hampden-White.

Villagers intend to press on with their plans as they wait for the outcome of an appeal from developers whose application to turn the pub into private housing was rejected in February.

West Norfolk councillor Colin Sampson, who attended, said: “This new campaign group have something about them. They are setting about things in an organised way.

“I would say there was a very positive atmosphere and proved to be a right good mingling session.”

The site of the Blue Bell
The site of the Blue Bell

Regarding the campaign to save the Blue Bell, he added: “I like to think getting the planners to turn down the original application for houses was the first step.

“There is maybe a couple of months until the appeal is heard so the hope is that it is turned down again. They [pub campaigners] are clearly getting their act together and where I can, I will back them.

“Historically the pub did not set itself up as well as it might have done but there is a different mood in the village and one of the positives of Covid is that the community gets together and helps one another more than they used to.”

Mr Sampson referred to the King’s Arms in Shouldham, a community owned pub, as an example to follow.



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