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A DERELICT pub in Seend has stolen the heart of local man, Andrew Blackall, as he sets his sights on crowdfunding £600,000 to restore the pub back to the community asset it once was.
Talking to Melksham News, Andrew said, “So many pubs, once the hub of the community, have fallen into disrepair and disappeared forever, leaving a huge hole in the communities they once served. The numbers show 27 pubs are closing a week, with only 47,000 left in the UK.
“The Bell Inn in Seend is a Wiltshire landmark. It’s the only pub on the main road through Seend, therefore it has so much potential to be made into something great again. It would be such a shame to see it go. I fear that it won’t be long before it is torn down and turned into housing.
“Therefore, with the help of the local community, and local trades, I am looking to restore the building back to a pub, restaurant and accommodation. I want to work with local people who know what the village needs.
“It’s very early days and whilst there hasn’t been much financial input, I have already gained a lot of interest from the people of Seend, asking if it would cater for various groups.
“Wiltshire has such a diverse range of people, so we are looking to appeal to all. The pub has stunning views and I genuinely believe it can be reanimated into something worthwhile.
“Unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer but just because you have something go wrong in your life, doesn’t mean you stop endeavouring to do something. As my energy levels decrease, it would be great to have the help and support of everyone during this project.
“It’s not personally about leaving a legacy behind, it’s all about community, history, heritage. Society will look back at it in a jaded way and wonder why all the pubs have gone.
“It’s about the future, future generations and not losing something like this. It will still be here in 50 years’ time if we do something today. Wiltshire needs to keep its identity, help reserve a small part of it and you’ll preserve the bigger picture.
“The Bell Inn is currently closed. It looks sad and one can only envisage that the longer the pub lays empty, the more likely it is that it’s renovational needs will become untenable. We would like to ensure its survival, creating a thriving and viable business once more.”
To help Andrew save The Bell Inn, visit his crowdfunding page on www. crowd funder.co.uk/ring-my-bell/.