Perfect weather allows Somersham pub to celebrate big anniversary

Duke of Marlborough

Community campaigners reopened the Duke of Marlborough at Easter 2017. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A Suffolk pub has been celebrating the fifth anniversary of its "rebirth" as a community-owned asset with a fun day in perfect weather.

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary with a beer festival.

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary with a beer festival. Volunteer Richard Toone mans the paella stall. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Residents of Somersham were determined not to lose the village's last pub when Last Orders were called by the former landlords of the Duke of Marlborough pub in 2014.

Community campaigners have saved the Duke of Marlborough Pub in Somersham from closure.

The Duke of Marlborough is once again at the heart of village life in Somersham. - Credit: Gregg Brown

They set about raising enough money to buy and run it as a community asset, gaining support from people across the area including Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran.

Ed Sheeran shows his support for Save the Duke,.

Ed Sheeran shows his support for Save the Duke, with campaigner Laura Hammond. - Credit: Laura Hammond

After two years of campaigning and fundraising, they finally took it over and were able to reopen its doors to customers at Easter 2017.

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary with a beer festival.

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary with a beer festival. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Since then it has once again become the heart of the village - and has survived two years of lockdowns and restrictions to be able to celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday.

Lucy Batchelor-Wylan was one of the original campaigners and has been helping to run the pub ever since.

She said: "When the pub first closed in 2014 it looked as if it would be sold to become a home - but we were determined that was not going to happen. Not on our watch.

"We had 150 people at the first meeting and we have gone on from there.

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"It has been tough at times - particularly during the lockdowns and the pandemic, but we are still here and wanted to celebrate."

They could not believe their luck with the weather on Saturday afternoon.

Luy added: "This is perfect for us. We had an event for the volunteers at lunchtime and this afternoon we have a couple of bands and then a disco this evening.

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary with a beer festivaltheir Byl

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary with music in the afternoon. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"We've got the outside bar operating and all in all it's a really great day - it makes it all worthwhile."

The Duke of Marlborough is run by professional staff and is gaining a strong reputation for its food offer - but they are supported by volunteers from the village who help with a number of jobs with most people doing a minimum of three hours a month to help keep it in operation.

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary with a beer festivaltheir Byl

The Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham celebrates their anniversary. - Credit: Sonya Duncan