Gallery: Pop-up boozer lifts spirits in the pub-free village of Friston
11:00 26 February 2014
Around 90 residents of an east Suffolk village have again savoured the sociable atmosphere of a British pub more than a year after closing time was last called at their local.
The villagers of Friston, near Aldeburgh, were treated to a visit from a pop-up pub on Friday, offering them a rare chance to meet up over a friendly drink and a fish supper.
Liz Thomas, who organised the event at the village hall after an equally popular session in November, said there was a “great atmosphere” that brought everyone together.
“It was buzzing!” she said. “There was lots of laughter and interaction between people in the village who had not seen each other for a while.”
Friston has been without a permanent pub since the The Old Chequers closed in January 2013, leaving the village lacking all its local services.
Mrs Thomas, 67, said the pub’s departure had removed the village’s social hub and left people “really down”. Having been welcomed to the village when she arrived with her husband around three years ago, the retired headteacher decided to book the pop-up pub to give something back and revive the village’s spirits.
“The people in the village made us feel really welcome and they work very hard to ensure we’ve got a community, so because of that we wanted to do our bit,” she said.
Frank’s Bar, which operates the pop-up pub, will return 10% of the event’s profits to the village, which Mrs Thomas, an arthritis sufferer plans to donate to Ipswich Hospital’s rheumatology department.
“They’ve been absolutely amazing,” she said.
There are no immediate plans for any pop-up pub events until after the summer, as Mrs Thomas feels they will be less well attended when the weather is pleasant outside.
She hopes the popularity of the event may help demonstrate the viability of returning The Old Chequers back to use and avert any proposals to convert it into housing.
“The local residents said it would be wonderful if the pub could be reinstated because they’d have somewhere to meet more regularly,” she said