Kneeling at the front are from left, campaigners Jim McNeil and Stephen Ward with fundraising team member Elaine Ford. Picture: Ian Burt

A lottery boost is helping  to transform a former pub into an important community asset.

Members and supporters of the Campaign to Save the Blue Bell pub in Stoke Ferry gathered last Saturday to celebrate a  £8,500 award by the National Lottery Community Fund towards the renovation and refit of their community- owned pub. 

Sandra McNeill, a member of the campaign’s project board,  said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery’s Community Fund has recognised our important work in this way. 

“Now, thanks to this award, we’re able to press on with our plans to renovate the last pub in Stoke Ferry. 

“This work is important because we are creating a true community pub that welcomes all individuals and groups. 

“This award is an investment not only in the bricks, flint and motor of the Blue Bell building, but is also a massive vote of confidence in the people of Stoke Ferry and our surrounding villages.”

The pub, the last in the village, was officially sold to the community on June 30.

Work has begun to transform it into a pub-café-hub to bring it back to life as a venue for  all ages to use and enjoy. 

Campaigners said it had been a “long and at times, bumpy road” but it had been the “belief, enthusiasm, and support from near and far” which had given the campaign the momentum it needed to succeed. The chance to purchase shares helped to get the venture off the ground along with fundraising and grants.

• A Mexican-themed event will be held at the pub on Sunday, September 26 from noon to 5pm. Bring your sombrero and enjoy authentic street food, drinks, sweet treats, music, competitions and activities. There will be a prize for the best Mexican outfit.