LINCOLN SHAW: Village fights to save its pub
TALLY HO. The ancient cry of the huntsman is sounding again in Littlehempston as part of a campaign to save the village pub bearing the same name.
It is an inn with a history which has had a couple of other names in its time before it acquired the hunting symbol and became the centre of social life for a village which had no village hall. It was a great blow when it closed just over a year ago.
There was further alarm when it became known a planning application had been lodged to change the inn and a nearby barn into private housing.
Now the cry has gone out 'Rally Round the Tally' with a colourful logo showing a red-coated huntsman blowing his horn.
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More than 70 objections have been lodged and a crowded parish council meeting appointed a campaign committee to investigate the possibility of buying the inn and running it as a community project.
To my simple mind it all seems a bit complicated, involving something called an IPS (an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community) and also an Enterprise Investment Scheme.
But, as I understand it, an organisation would be set up to issue shares to interested members of the public and the money raised would buy the Tally Ho, install a manager and play an active role in running it.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has offered support and the committee has also been in contact with the Plunkett Foundation which played a key part in enabling the Broadhempston shop to re-open as a community enterprise.
The campaign committee has researched far and wide to find a way through the twists and turns of making their scheme a success. It has discovered a number of community pubs already being run successfully in places as far apart as Cumbria and Essex. There is already another in Devon, the Royal Oak at Meavy.
And, surprise, surprise, the locals at Hungerford Newton in Berkshire are also at this moment trying to save their local pub through community purchase. It's name ? The Tally Ho.
The Littlehempston campaigners are anxious to get feedback, not only from their own village but also others in the immediate neighbourhood. Anyone who would like more information should contact Mike Thomas on 01803 865058 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
With hard work and determination this is a campaign which could well succeed. You need only look down the road a short way to the Littlehempston parish church, which has been turned into a part-time village hall, to see how well such a project can turn out if everyone in the community is behind it.
THERE is nothing like a real fire, with logs burning brightly and sending out a direct heat which keeps you snug and warm. Much cosier and comforting than sitting by a radiator, however efficient.
This is something more and more people are discovering as the price of oil rockets to unbelievable heights and they switch back to the old fashioned system which seemed to be on its way out not so long ago.
Firms installing wood burning stoves are working overtime and log merchants can't keep up with the demand.
It was all so different way back in the days of our early married life.
The fireplace in our first ever house had been blocked up and it was a difficult and expensive job to get it burning fuel again — coal in those days rather than the more expensive wood.
When we moved into our present home 29 years ago we found the same situation. Fireplaces had not been gainfully employed for years.
One chimney had been bricked up and it was a major job to get it working again.
Another had an electric fire installed in the grate and the long disused chimney had to be capped after being cleared of bird nests and other rubbish.
Again the remedy was expensive but thank goodness we had it done.
Now where is that poker. Those glowing embers need just a little coaxing.