I was delighted to attend the official re-opening of The Harrow pub in Stockbury village a few nights ago. It was a fantastic event to be part of as the pub's story is heart-warming for the local community.
The Harrow pub was put up for sale in September 2015 but when Stockbury Parish Council was informed, a group of residents decided to try to buy it as a community pub. Upon deciding to buy the pub, a Community Benefit Society (CBS) was set up, which now has 141 shareholders, and purchase of The Harrow was agreed with Shepherd Neame at the end of March 2017.
The pub was then closed for refurbishment during the summer and officially re-opened on 30th August at an event packed with regulars, CBS members and Shepherd Neame chief executive, Jonathan Neame.
Villager Chris Porter – a regular at The Harrow for 25 years and a Campaign for Real Ale member – helped set up the group which has bought the pub. He said: “For the village to come together and raise £350,000 to buy the pub is a fantastic feat which demonstrates the strength of community spirit in the area. We’re grateful to Shepherd Neame for being so open throughout the process and enabling us to buy the pub.”
It was such a great event to be part of and I think it’s fantastic that The Harrow is reopen. It was full of people enjoying the atmosphere and I hope it will be full every day in the months to come. It’s really great to see the local community coming together in this way.