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Thumbs up for The Northumberland Arms

Diane Inglis

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The Northumberland Arms The Thumb Marple Lauren Taylor Robinsons Brewery Samuel Oldknow

The Northumberland Arms, known affectionately as The Thumb, is back open for business, but instead of being under the control of a brewery, it is now owned by more than 200 dedicated supporters who went more than the extra mile to keep it open.

The group of 240 shareholders, made up of regulars and others further afield, loved the pub so much that they bought shares to keep it open, after Robinsons Brewery decided to close it early last year.

Now their determination and support for their local have paid off and the pub has reopened its doors, not only to shareholders, but to everyone.

It is currently open as a pub but the board of six shareholders, who have responsibility for taking the business forward, are planning an extension this year to include a café.

Board member and shareholder, Lauren Taylor, explained: “We need to install a new kitchen to be able to open a café so that is our next big project. Then we will open in the mornings for coffee and snacks and in the afternoons and evenings as a pub.

Lauren, who runs her own jewellery design studio in Stockport, has been a regular and has worked behind the bar for several years and was determined to help to keep it open.

“I invested money and also joined the steering group, which has now become the board, to help bring it to fruition. I don’t expect to get a return, it was just about helping keep the pub open. Everyone is really friendly and we have lots of plans to make it an even bigger part of the local community,” she said.

A walking group and regular quiz nights are already on the calendar with plans to introduce other groups including crochet sessions and possibly a cycling club.

Tony Taylor, also a shareholder , led the walking group’s first outing in February, with a great turnout of ramblers and their dogs, despite the mixed weather which included both snow and rain.

“We took a walk, following in Samuel Oldknow’s footsteps, looking at places of historic interest and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.” said Tony.

He is planning to make it a monthly event on Sunday mornings, starting and finishing at the pub and is already working on the next route focusing on the Andrew family of Compstall.

Tony is really positive about his own investment, saying: “This pub has been providing facilities to the local community for nearly 200 years and I wanted to do my own little bit to help save it. As a community pub, it will try to appeal to all members of the local community, so it was nice to see some people who came out on our walk then came along to the quiz. There are lots of things being planned and the addition of a café will make a huge difference in attracting even more people.”

For more information check out The Northumberland Arms Community Pub on Facebook.