'Make or break time' in community's bid to buy village pub
PUBLISHED: 05:30 13 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:40 13 June 2019
A community group attempting to save its historic village pub by buying and running it themselves say it is "make or break time" in their fundraising bid.
Villagers in Chedburgh, near Bury St Edmunds, want to raise enough money to refurbish and purchase The Marquis Cornwallis, which has been closed for more than two and a half years.
A community benefit society - The Chedburgh Marquis Community Hub (CMCH) - was formed last autumn and a share issue has raised more than £24,000 towards the campaign.
But a further £75,000 is required and the share issue is now online at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savethemarquis, with the aim of drumming up more support for the scheme.
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Villagers are aiming to turn The Marquis into a successful community pub alongside a café and shop.
Jean Dillon, administrator at CMCH, said around 100 people attended a summer party at the village's Erksine Centre on June 7, which included Tink's Tiny Tavern - a pop-up pub - live music, a BBQ and a raffle.
"People still want to save our pub and we just hope we can raise enough money to make a go of it," she said.
"It's a big chance to raise the money we need and if we can't demonstrate we've got the support then we are going to struggle.
"There is the possibility of a back-up plan and things are being discussed with the parish council with regard to funding, but that's in the very early stages.
"It feels like make or break time and that this is our year to make it happen."
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Mrs Dillon added that film maker Rory Toher had also visited Chedburgh to speak with residents ahead of a documentary on village pubs.
The Marquis closed its doors in October 2016, and both the building and land was registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) a month later.
The pub was put on the market in November 2017 and was last month was posted for sale on eBay for £495,000, while the 1.3-acre plot of associated land across the road was up for £475,000.
The Marquis, which is around 175 years old, was an enlisting station at the start of the First World War, and was frequented by the pilots of RAF Chedburgh who visited to unwind during the Second World War.
For more information, visit www.savethemarquis.co.uk