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‘The time is now’ - Final plea for £100k Suffolk pub saviour share scheme

PUBLISHED: 10:59 22 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 June 2018

People in Wickham Market gathered to launch the share scheme to save The George pub Picture: JULIAN EVANS

People in Wickham Market gathered to launch the share scheme to save The George pub Picture: JULIAN EVANS

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The team campaigning to save a fire-damaged Suffolk village pub has made an impassioned plea for financial backers to help it reach the finishing line.

The George, Wickham Market which was destroyed by fire in 2013   Picture: THE GEORGE COMMUNITY PUB PROJECTThe George, Wickham Market which was destroyed by fire in 2013 Picture: THE GEORGE COMMUNITY PUB PROJECT

Supporters of The George Community Pub project have already raised around £65,000 to buy the derelict inn after a much publicised share scheme launch in Wickham Market last month.

Villagers want to buy the pub, which was devastated by a major fire more than five years ago, and reopen it under community ownership.

Project leaders say they have been impressed by the response to the campaign so far – but need a “final push” to reach the £100,000 minimum target before the deadline of Tuesday, June 26.

Committee member Bill Wolff Evans said the target was “frustratingly close” and it would be a huge shame if it failed at the final hurdle.

The George pictured in 2006 Picture: GEORGE HERINGThe George pictured in 2006 Picture: GEORGE HERING

“We’re two thirds of the way and with one final push we can do it,” he added.

“Many people have already bought shares and for that we’re very grateful.

“However we also know that many other supporters are planning to invest but haven’t got around to it.

“The time is now - please don’t leave it until it’s too late.”

More than 200 people attended the launch of the scheme on Saturday, May 12, when villagers gathered in the village’s market square for a photo shoot as a show of support for the project.

MORE: Hundreds turn out in show of support for Suffolk pub’s £1.6m restoration project

It is hoped the shares can raise £300,000 towards the estimated £1.6million cost of restoring the historic building – but the minimum amount to qualify for the scheme, which provides match funding, is £100,000.

Mr Wolff Evans said the committee was particularly keen to hear from potential “super-backers” – businesses or individuals prepared to make a significant investment to reach the target.

Once the financial goal has been achieved, the team will buy the team and move on to the next stage of the project using additional grant funding.

The committee has met with other community run pubs, including The Sorrel Horse in Shottisham, the Case is Altered in Bentley and the Duke of Marlborough in Somersham, and believes Wickham Market can follow in their footsteps.

Visit The George to find out more about the scheme and how to buy shares.

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