Delight as £200k community takeover of Northumberland pub supported by Robson Green, Si King and other celebrities is official

Last Friday was a red-letter day for a group of residents in a north Northumberland community as they now have the keys to their village pub.

By Andrew Coulson
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 4:41 pm

Following a hard-fought fundraising campaign which was backed by a number of famous faces, the steering committee for the buyout of The Fishers Arms in Horncliffe managed to exceeded its £200,000 target by July 7 thanks to numerous donations and pledges.

Robson Green, Hairy Biker Si King, Kevin Whately and members of the band Lindisfarne all recorded video messages in support of the campaign.

And on July 29, the keys were handed over by previous owner Paul O'Keefe to committee chairman Keith Giddens.

Keith Giddens, left, chairman of the buyout campaign committee, receives the keys to The Fishers Arms from previous owner Paul O'Keefe.

The share certificates have now been sent out to current shareholders and the share offer is extended until October 31 to enable more people to become part owners in The Fishers Arms as a further £100,000 is required to carry out repairs and refurbishments.

A spokeswoman for the committee said: “July 29 was a fantastic day for our community and we would like to thank everyone who has supported this campaign by buying shares, donating and giving up their time to help – as well as our wonderful celebrities for getting us the publicity we needed to keep our campaign alive.

“We will now move onto phase two, which is the renovation and refurbishment of the building.

“We have been offered considerable volunteer labour and skill input, and also building materials. We would like to see as much community involvement as people can give and invest into the project.

“We will also be applying for as many grants as we are entitled to and aim to create a sustainable future for the pub by being as environmentally aware as possible.

“The aim is to create a traditional village pub, but utilising new technologies and innovations. We will be using local suppliers and brewers to create a true Northumbrian/border identity and hopefully create some employment opportunities.

“We will continue to fundraise, but are also in the process of organising a celebration to mark this amazing community achievement.”

For more details about the campaign and to buy shares, go to www.fishersarmshorncliffe.org

There has been a pub in the village of Horncliffe since 1760.

The Fishers Arms was once owned by Stuart Brown’s family. Mr Brown went on to become editor of The Scotsman newspaper and wrote fondly of the pub and the village.

In his message earlier this year, Robson Green said: “The Fishers Arms is a wonderful pub. I’ve been there many times.

“If you are successful, it will be a fantastic place for anglers from all over Britain, if not the world, to have a bit of R&R after a great day or week’s fishing.”

Si King said: “If you can help in any way, we would be very grateful because a local pub is a great asset to a community, a place where people can meet.”

Kevin Whately said: “The intention of the local community is not to just have a boozer at The Fishers Arms, but to have a music venue, a coffee shop, a village hall and a storm shelter because often they lose power in the winter and they can have their own generator.”