Walton: Pub declares itself a Christmas-free zone for a good cause

Landlord, Russell Bettany (right) is pictured with members of the Humbug Club at The Victory pub in Walton-on-the Naze in their Christmas-free zone. Landlord, Russell Bettany (right) is pictured with members of the Humbug Club at The Victory pub in Walton-on-the Naze in their Christmas-free zone.

Sunday, December 22, 2013
9:08 PM

People looking to avoid the build-up to Christmas should head for the Victory pub in Walton-on-the-Naze.

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The drinking establishment on the north Essex coast has again launched its Humbug Club and declared itself a Christmas-free zone.

Throughout December, any mention of the ‘C‘ word is banned. The humming of carols and talk of presents are also outlawed.

Any drinkers caught indulging in festive chat will find themselves facing an on-the-spot fine that goes into a pot kept behind the bar.

But the locals aren’t as Scrooge-like as it would first appear - all the money that is raised goes to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). And over the years that the Humbug Club has been running, more than £2,500 has been raised for the charity.

Landlord Russell Bethany, said his patrons enjoy the Grinch-like approach to Christmas and appreciate it is an amusing way of collecting money for an important organisation.

“It’s a bit of good fun for a good cause. If someone mentions Christmas or sings a Christmas song, the fine pot comes out,” he said.

As usual, the pub has also declared an amnesty for midnight on Christmas Eve when drinkers will finally have the chance to let go of all that pent up Christmas spirit.

“People will be able to wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’ and sing a few Christmas songs if they wish,” said Mr Bethany, who admitted he has had to put up a few decorations in the pub this year.

“I’ve had to pander to a few individuals,” he added.

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