Regulars pledge £75,000 in attempt to buy Sheffield pub

Mark Powell is among those trying to buy the Gardeners Rest.

Mark Powell is among those trying to buy the Gardeners Rest.

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Sheffield pub regulars have pledged more than £75,000 to a campaign to save their local.

Drinkers at the Gardeners Rest in in Neepsend decided to try to buy the pub after landlord and lady Eddie Munelly and Pat Wilson announced their plan to retire and sell up.

With commercial interest apparent, the regulars launched a community share scheme last month, asking for a minimum donation of £100 in exchange for a chance to co-own the pub.

They set themselves a minimum target of £100,000. And with two weeks left to go until the initial deadline, £75,000 has already been pledged.

Mark Powell, one of those trying to buy the Gardeners Rest, said: "If we can push beyond the £100,000, then it all reduces the amount that we would need to borrow and increase the chances we would be able to make a serious offer to the owners."

Mark was not surprised by the speed in which the money was raised, but did raise an eyebrow at the breadth of support.

Gardeners Rest landlord and lady Pat Wilson and Eddy Munnelly.

Gardeners Rest landlord and lady Pat Wilson and Eddy Munnelly.

"So many of the people who have been pledging the money are people who we have never heard of," he said. "We know who the locals are. But then when you see names of people putting money in and you don't know them - that's terrific.

"It suggests what we were saying at the outset - we do think it's putting a marker down for independent pubs that resist the sweep to get rid of anything that isn't going to be a money-making private sector flat or business.

"It's a heartening thing."

The group need to reach £100,000 by November 19, but will still be able to collect money until November 28.

"Let's try to get to that first finishing line," said Mark. "The fact that we can run on a bit afterwards is great. It will mean that the amount goes up in those last few days."

People can contribute as little as £100 or as much as £20,000 towards a share in the pub - but everyone who pays in gets the same voting rights in the new Gardeners Rest Community Society.

Find out more about the share appeal at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/gardenersrest.

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