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Friday, 23 October 2020

Villagers celebrate after completing purchase of community pub

The villagers set up a community interest company to manage the money and the transaction and decided to adopt the name "Tollerton Flying Club".

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Residents of Tollerton in Nottinghamshire are celebrating after completing the purchase of their village’s pub, The Air Hostess, through a community crowd funding campaign.

Following the news in early 2019 that brewery Everards were planning to sell The Air Hostess, a group of residents rallied round to save their village pub and over just ten weeks before and after Christmas 2019 raised £165,700 through selling shares to 372 local people.

Combined with grants and loans from various sources, including The Plunkett Foundation, and with the support of Tollerton Parish Council, the village raised enough to both buy the pub and also embark upon an ambitious plan of renovations and improvements.

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The villagers set up a community interest company to manage the money and the transaction and decided to adopt the name “Tollerton Flying Club”.

This both celebrates the local landmark, Tollerton Airport and also marks that the ambition is to keep the Air Hostess flying for future generations of villagers.

Boosted by the news that local award-winning pub operators, Mark and Rachael Hughes were coming on board as the tenants and operators of the new Air Hostess, the Management Committee of the Tollerton Flying Club have now completed the legal process of buying the pub from the brewery and took possession of the keys on 2nd March.

Whilst the focus now is on completing some essentials repairs and improvements including to the kitchen, toilets and other facilities, with an ambition to reopen the pub by the end of March, the Flying Club team are keen that the pub quickly starts to become more than just a pub.

A key way this will happen is through the ongoing involvement of all 372 shareholders whose views on how the pub should be managed and run will be carefully listened to. In addition, there are exciting plans being drawn up to enable The Air Hostess to be a village hub: supporting community groups, sporting clubs, creative and artistic endeavours as well as celebrating the history and landscape of this part of Nottinghamshire.

Speaking shortly after picking up the keys to the Air Hostess, Chair of the Flying Club, Matt Garrard said, “We’re delighted to now be the official owners of The Air Hostess. Thank you to all the residents of Tollerton and around who put their faith in the Flying Club committee and raised such a phenomenal amount of money to save our pub.

‘We raised enough money to buy the pub and start the critical repairs and improvements – but we have more ambitious plans so if you haven’t invested already we have now reopened the opportunity to buy shares. Thank you also to Everards and all the recent tenants and staff of the Air Hostess – we will continue and build on your recent stewardship of the pub”.

More details about the campaign, news on the reopening date and information on how to buy shares can be found at www.tollertontrust.org.uk, on Facebook by searching for Tollerton Community Pub or by emailing communitypub@tollertontrust.org.uk.

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