North Lakes village celebrates 20 years since they bought their local pub

Sir Chris Bonington was part of the celebrations as a North Lakes village celebrated 20 years since they bought their local pub.

The Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket is believed to be Britain's first cooperatively owned pub after locals clubbed together to stop it falling into the hands of a large brewery.

Shareholders hosted a birthday party for the pub which was attended by people from across the world.

Sir Chris Bonington said: “To have the crown as a co-operative owned by the community. It's something very, very special.

Sir Chris Bonington was in attendance in Hesket Newmarket. Credit: Joe Giddens / PA Wire

"I think we've seen today with the celebration of the the richness, the variety, the friendliness and the warmth of this community. I think that's what it's all about."

The pub is owned by the local community and chairman Julian Ross spoke about how his idea gathered interest.

He said: "People talk about us saving the pub. I am not sure we actually saved it but we were anxious to preserve it.

"We wanted to sustain it and ensure it stayed with us as it is. The first meeting where I floated the idea, I thought I'd probably get laughed out of the room and ended up with about 20 signatures people who wanted to do it.

"There is just something about bringing people together to preserve something that we think is very precious."

Shareholders, regulars and tourists were invited to eat, drink and be merry and listen to speeches by cooperative members.

Helen Mumberson the landlady at the pub said: “Myself and Simon took over the running of the pub in 2016. We can categorically say it has been a pleasure to be given the opportunity to run it."

Some wished to celebrate in a more active way, the village's brewery names its beers after fells in the Lake District, and the local running club put a jogger on the top of every one of these fells.

Natalie Hawkrigg from Northern Fells Running Club, said: “Well we've managed to do it. We've got everybody on the Summit Bar.

"So we're still waiting for some photographs of our runner on Cat Bells, and we're still waiting for my colleague Thomas to do now. Steve is going to go off and do High Pike at sunset."

While most at the pub are regular visitors, the pub's shareholders aren't limited to these shores. Peter Krugmann has been a member for over fifteen years and travelled from his home in Germany to celebrate.

The village's brewery names its beers after fells in the Lake District. Credit: ITV

He said: "I read in the newspaper about the pub having become a co-operative. And I thought, that's a fantastic idea. I never heard of that in Germany.

"So I applied to become a shareholder and they accepted me. And I'm very happy about that.

"So many pubs are closing down in England, you know, and I love English pubs and the English beer. Maybe I'm the only German.

"So I think it's great if through this idea of the co-operative, the pub, the local, you know, for the community is still kept alive. Otherwise I'm sure this pub would not be here anymore if it hadn't been the co-operative."

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