Village’s pub has been restored, redecorated and reopened
- Credit: Archant
It took several years of campaigning and four months of hard work, and now one Norfolk village is finally getting its pub back.
More than a few residents of Beeston, near Dereham, will be cheerily ordering drinks at the Ploughshare, which shut in 2016, as it reopens its doors today (Friday, May 24).
Kim Wheeler, one of the project managers on the 16th Century pub's restoration, said the venue was looking fine and was fit to resume its place at the heart of the village.
Mr Wheeler said: "It's almost a dream come true. It's something that we wondered would ever happen, because it took us three years to raise the money and get the developer to agree to sell it to us.
"We've been fundraising ever since to pay for the expense of refurbishing it."
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The community raised £250,000, including £105,000 given by village residents to save the pub. They set up a company called Beeston Community Enterprises (BCE), which bought the pub on January 31, and dozens of volunteers and tradesmen pitched in to clean up the building, repaint and put in new floors, ceilings and fittings.
The pub will initially only be serving drinks, and after further work will open a kitchen for hot meals, a shop offering local produce and essentials like milk, a cafe and a function room.
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The pub will have one full-time employee, manager Becca Musgrave, and the rest will be run by volunteers.
Ms Musgrave, who worked in the pub for a year before it shut, said: "I'm really excited that it's reopening. I used to work here and it's great to be back. It looks a lot better than it used to, a lot fresher."
Different parts of the pub's interior celebrate links to Beeston's heritage.
The main bar has been named the 392 Crusaders bar, in honour of the US Air Force bomber group was stationed nearby and the aviators who used it as their watering hole.
The room that will serve as a cafe has been named after May Burrell, a midwife from Beeston who was known as Sister May, and a cosy nook has been named for Jem Mace, a legendary boxer who grew up in the village.