YARPOLE is once again demonstrating a strong sense of unity with plans to save the village’s only pub.

In recent years the village has succeeded in setting up a thriving shop and café in the parish church, and now Yarpole’s acknowledged community spirit is firmly behind proposals to buy the ancient Bell Inn which has been closed since May.

Local people voted overwhelmingly in favour of acquiring the pub at a packed public meeting two months ago, and a survey has since shown that a massive 80 per cent of the village is in favour of the move. Already £180,000 has been pledged in shares towards a community fund.

But the underlying fear is that if villagers do not act now, the pub may remain closed and lost forever.

A group of committed locals have set up the Mortimer Community Benefit Society to raise money by selling shares to make the purchase possible. This is a village which has already demonstrated a real determination by establishing the busy shop and café in St Leonard’s Church, mainly run by volunteers.

Now the group plans to launch the shares at a public meeting in the church on Friday July 27 at 7.30pm. Meanwhile, a search for a publican has begun – villagers are looking for a ‘special’ tenant able to offer a warm welcome, good food and drink to locals and visitors. They also want the pub to be used as a live music venue, for special events and as a local meeting place for all ages.

The initiative has the backing of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, and the Plunkett Foundation which recognises the importance of a well-supported village local.

“Our aim is to make the Bell Inn a hub of the village, a pub providing facilities and services that bring the community together,” said the group’s treasurer, Mike Bending. “A warm and welcoming venue for Yarpole and surrounding villages, serving local beers and well-priced, freshly prepared food,” he added.

“We want to keep our village pub as a place to stroll to for a drink with friends or a handy meal without worrying about having to drive elsewhere. Right now the choice is ours to make, the possibilities are available to us now but once the pub is gone, that is our choice.” For further information go to themortimercbs.org or Save the Bell Facebook page.