Villagers rally to re-open Leasingham’s only pub after raising money to buy it for community

The committee members of the Leasingham Community Benefit Society after getting their hands on the keys to the Duke of Wellington pub. From left - Dave Warner, Roy Richardson,  Joan Lawton, Frances  Franklin and Karen Warner. EMN-180724-110217001
The committee members of the Leasingham Community Benefit Society after getting their hands on the keys to the Duke of Wellington pub. From left - Dave Warner, Roy Richardson, Joan Lawton, Frances Franklin and Karen Warner. EMN-180724-110217001

A band of Leasingham residents were handed the keys to their village pub on Friday after raising the cash to buy it as a community asset.

Frances Franklin, from the five-strong co-ordinating committee of the Leasingham Community Benefit Society said there has been an amazing weekend of activity with a view to re-opening the Duke of Wellington today (Thursday) and tomorrow between 6pm and 11pm - barring hitches. More than 40 people gave time and expertise and work carries on apace this week.

Hard at work - volunteers and tradesmen give up their time for free to get The Duke of Wellington ready to reopen. EMN-180726-101232001

Hard at work - volunteers and tradesmen give up their time for free to get The Duke of Wellington ready to reopen. EMN-180726-101232001

The upstairs has been refurbished, while the garden area has been tidied and repainted.

Mrs Franklin said: “We have had professional plumbers, electricians, carpenters, carpet layers and plasterers giving their time for free. Those that were unable to stay delivered cakes, biscuits, food and drinks.

“There is an enthusiasm and excitement to get this project working,” said Mrs Franklin.

“We will be open for full service from Monday July 30.”

Volunteer villagers busy tidying up the garden area of the pub. EMN-180726-101145001

Volunteer villagers busy tidying up the garden area of the pub. EMN-180726-101145001

The community raised over £200,000 towards the pub purchase through the sale of shares, not only locally but across the country, Australia, the US and Europe, said Mrs Franklin.

The search for the right landlord is vitally importanty and ongoing. In the meantime they will open with the previous bar staff under the licence of another friendly licensee.

There will be a family fun day on August 18 to properly launch it.

Hive of activity - work in progress on the newly bought Duke of Wellington in Leasingham. EMN-180726-101053001

Hive of activity - work in progress on the newly bought Duke of Wellington in Leasingham. EMN-180726-101053001