Latest news - August 2017
We are excited to announce we have now appointed a new Pub Manager who will be starting on August 18th. Kevin Long joins us from the Events Management team at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Kevin has long experience of the events and hospitality industry and we look forward to welcoming him to really get things going at the Duke!
We are also in the final stages of appointing a chef and hope to have one in post by September 1st. Keep your eyes peeled for news of our food offer going live and of our grand opening sometime in the early Autumn!
Sadly, Kate, our fabulous Interim Manager since Easter, will be leaving us in mid-August and we extend her our heartfelt thanks to her for helping us get the pub open and doing a great job training up our volunteers and setting up events and food nights. We all wish her well and hope it's not the last we see of her behind the bar at the Marlborough.
Progress continues to be made on the interior and exterior and we are soon to launch our new branding and website. All of this takes time, usually by our already busy volunteer committee and, so we thank you for your continued patience!
If you have time to help in any way on a regular basis, or as a one off - please get in touch!
And please don't forget, shares are still on sale! Click HERE for more info.
On February 28th 2107 the community group finally took possession of our fabulous old village pub - the Duke of Marlborough. This was the result of over two years of fundraising and hard work by a dedicated bunch from Somersham and surrounding villages. Over 220 people made this happen through buying shares and loaning us money - we couldn't have done it without it - thank you so much!
When the doors of the Duke of Marlborough in Somersham, Suffolk, closed on Christmas Eve 2014, it seemed the pub would be lost forever. However, just over two years and much campaigning later, the keys have been handed over to the new owners - the community!
Over £300,000 was needed to purchase the oak-beamed freehouse. The previous owners had been looking for buyers for some time when they retired at the end of 2014. With none forthcoming, chances were that the pub would be de-licensed and sold for residential purposes.
Local doctor Sarah Caston, saddened by the prospect of losing the pub for future generations, called a village meeting and set up the Save the Duke campaign. “The Duke had been offering hospitality for well over 500 years. We just wanted that to continue. It’s a beautiful, rural, historic inn, treasured by the community - and with potential to offer something special to people from further afield. It was clearly worth fighting for!”
A committee of volunteers, headed initially by Sarah and later by James Batchelor-Wylam, has worked tirelessly towards the end goal – of re-opening the doors of the Duke of Marlborough.
“We raised the money, we negotiated the purchase and now we have the keys,” says James. “That’s a massive milestone. This really is a huge achievement, made possible by the fantastic people who invested in shares – 230 of them so far, and numbers still rising!
“It’s not only the shareholders we have to thank. It’s also the many organisations and individuals who have given us time, advice, grants and support in kind. Soon we’ll be celebrating with them - and offering the public recognition they deserve.
Have you seen our FACEBOOK page? Join in with the photo campaign, add your own posts and 'like' and 'share' posts to show your support - help spread the word and give this project the best chance of success! We are also on twitter - @helpsavetheduke.