Essex villagers who brought a historic pub under community ownership named ‘runner up’ in CAMRA’s Pub Saving Award
Efforts to safeguard the future of the Three Horseshoes, located in the remote village of Helions Bumpstead in North West Essex, have been recognised in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Pub Saving Award, which celebrates people who have come together to save a pub from closure.
After the 19th-century pub was closed in May 2014, volunteers from the village of fewer than 500 people launched a survey which found that there was overwhelming support for the Three Horseshoes to be restored as a public house.
The Helions Bumpstead Community Benefit Society was established shortly after, setting an ambitious fundraising target of £400,000 to buy the pub as a community asset. In March 2019 the pub successfully came into community ownership, and major refurbishment work took place both inside and outside the pub.
During the refurbishment, regular pub nights and other events for the village were held as well as ‘landmark’ events to which the village, local press and local MP were invited.
Plans to reopen the Three Horseshoes were thwarted in the Spring of 2020 due to COVID, so a grocery store was established to offer basic supplies otherwise unavailable within the village as well as ‘off sales’ of real ale at weekends.
Once Covid restrictions were fully lifted in July 2021, the pub opened for occasional weekend events whilst tenant recruitment continued, with a full reopening finally taking place in December 2021.
Richard Russell, Chair of the Community Benefit Society, spoke warmly of the success of the campaign to save the pub: “This is exactly what we had in mind from the outset- a traditional country pub in the heart of the village which ticks all the boxes, saved for posterity thanks to community ownership. Everybody in the village and surrounding area is delighted. This award is great news for us all and a fantastic reflection on Rob and Rhanny’s success.”
Tenants Rob and Rhanny Carroll said: “Since reopening, the pub has traded very successfully and always has three real ales (usually including at least one ‘LocAle’) and a growing reputation for its food. It has also been recognised by CAMRA North West Essex with a place in the 2023 Good Beer Guide, which is a real honour.”
Ian Fitzhenry, Chair of CAMRA’s North West Essex Branch said: “I am delighted that the efforts of the villagers of Helions Bumpstead have been recognised with this prestigious award. It makes a very satisfactory ‘double’ for the Branch following the success of the Railway Arms, Saffron Walden in last year’s Pub Saving Award.”
The overall winner in this year’s competition is the Plough Inn in Longparish, Hampshire– another fantastic success story of a local village taking the fate of their local pub into their own hands and ensuring the pub is run as a community asset.
Paul Ainsworth, Coordinator for CAMRA’s Pub Saving Award said: “Huge congratulations are in order for the dedicated villagers who have saved both the Plough Inn in Longparish and the Three Horseshoes in Helions Bumpstead. Pubs play an irreplaceable role in bringing people together, and the decision to purchase a pub as a community is a real commitment to preserving its future for generations to come. It is a real privilege to be able to highlight these efforts. Well done to everyone involved.”
CAMRA has resources and support for anybody looking to save their local, and the Pub Saving Award highlights how groups across the UK have managed to do it. You can find CAMRA’s ‘Saving Your Local Pub’ Guides, plus more resources and contacts for advice from www.camra.org.uk/saveyourlocal
The pubs will be presented with the award at a forthcoming event organised by the respective local CAMRA branch in early 2023.
Notes for editors
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Best contact: Andy Jolliffe Chair of the Longparish Community Pub Ltd 07917043915 firstname.lastname@example.org
Background information can be found at
Best contact: Richard Russell, Chair of the Community Benefit Society on email@example.com / 07771 887183