Historic Lamarsh Lion pub re-opens for business following two-year community campaign
The reopening of a 700-year-old pub in Lamarsh, following two years of closure, has been hailed as a fantastic achievement on the part of the entire community.
The Lamarsh Lion will formally celebrate with a grand opening next weekend, having finally resumed trading at the end of May.
It concludes a long campaign to breathe new life into the business under community ownership, after the pub’s future appeared uncertain when it shut in 2016.
The previous owners initially applied to convert the building into homes, but this was withdrawn following heavy opposition from local residents.
Subsequently, Lamarsh Lion Community Pub Ltd was formed and managed to raise approximately £500,000 to acquire the pub in July 2017, having enabled community members to purchase shares in the company at £50 each.
Since then, substantial repairs have been carried out, including the refitting of the kitchen and cellar, paving the way for a soft launch at the end of last month.
Robert Erith, chairman of Lamarsh Lion Community Pub Ltd, said: “Getting this pub open again is a fantastic achievement from a dedicated band of supporters and a wider group of shareholders and well-wishers.
“It will be a vital asset for the whole community and we hope it will help make Lamarsh a great place to live for the long term.
“We have shown what can be achieved if people really believe such a project is worthwhile.”
In addition to selling shares to some 400 people, the organisation received grants from The Plunkett Foundation, the Essex Community Foundation Rural Fund, Essex County Council’s Community Initiatives Fund and GCG Environment Trust.
The committee also recruited a team led by long-time publican Mick Fallon to run the Lion.
Ruth Allison, committee treasurer added: “The British Pub is unique and the Lamarsh Lion has been the heart of the village for generations.
“I became part of the team as I felt very strongly that the loss of the pub meant a loss of friends.”
“My vision was to provide a community centre for all, not just a beer drinking establishment, and I think we have gone a long way to achieve this aim. We have more to do, but are certainly on the right path.”
The grand re-opening is on June 23 from 12.30pm, and will include a barbecue, hog roast and live music.