Pub Saving Award
About the Award
The Pub Saving Award recognises people that have come together to save a pub that would have otherwise been demolished or converted to another use. It aims to secure publicity for pub-saving campaigns to encourage others to save their local.
Nominate a Pub
Nominations are now closed.
The Stoke Ferry Community Enterprise
Campaigners who rescued the Blue Bell Inn in Stoke Ferry, Norfolk have been recognised with the Campaign for Real Ale’s prestigious Pub Saving Award for their efforts.
The Blue Bell, which was the last pub in the village of Stoke Ferry, has been trading as a pub since 1794; however, it was closed in March 2018, and in 2019 and application was submitted to convert the pub into housing. Local villagers fought back, and the Blue Bell was listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in March 2020, giving the community time to raise funds to buy the premises.
Throughout the Coronavirus restrictions that came into effect not long after, a dedicated committee continued to fight for the pub, leafletting, holding online wine and beer tastings and quiz nights. Celebrity support came in the forms of England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, comedian Stephen K Amos and Stephen Fry.
The Railway Arms
The Railway Arms, a 19th century branch line pub, was saved in October 2020 after a 4-year campaign by the group STRAP (standing for ‘Save The Railway Arms Pub’). Closed on New Year’s Day 2016, the owners had plans to build houses on the pub garden and convert the main buildings into residential ones. With advice and guidance from the Plunkett Foundation and More Than a Pub, a public meeting, attended by 130 people, was held in Saffron Walden Town Hall in April 2017, kickstarting the campaign to save the Railway Arms.
To keep STRAP in the public eye, a regular stall was set up in Saffron Walden market on a Saturday and quarterly weekend ‘pop up’ pub sessions were held in a local community centre – ‘Not the Railway Arms’. After a prolonged campaign, the pub came into community ownership in October 2020, before reopening under COVID restrictions on 16 April 2021. Since opening, as well as providing a full range of pub services and facilities, the Railway Arms has hosted theatrical performances in the garden, played a full part in Saffron Walden’s ‘Fete de la Musique’, hosts a local cycling club whose weekly rides start and finish at the pub and has a fortnightly ‘knit and natter’ session organised by a local craft shop.