A new campaign by the Western Morning News
A few words from my employer and a very fine idea (my entry for the Order of the Brown Nose):
According to figures released last month and reported in the Western Morning News, nearly 900 pubs closed down in rural Britain last year.
Many would argue that is a clear signal traditional village life is dying out in many parts of the country, including Devon and Cornwall.
We think we know better. Millions of people still live in the rural parts of England and Wales – the majority in its small towns and villages.
And, as our ongoing Vital Villages campaign is showing, there’s plenty of life in small- town England yet.
It might be largely forgotten by governments, broadcasters, media commentators and the like, but the small communities of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset are alive and, usually, kicking.
And what is often to be found at the centre of these communities? The humble local.
They act as much more than a social venue – they are a focal point for sports teams, clubs and societies. They are the places we go to celebrate or commiserate, or just to share our views and argue over the day’s news and sport.
It’s often forgotten many also provide a range of community services such as post offices and shops. Even royalty agrees.
Prince Charles has said: “Rural communities, and this country’s rural way of life, face unprecedented challenges… the country pub, which has been at the heart of village life for centuries, is disappearing in many areas.
“Providing services from the pub, such as a post office or a shop, keeps an essential service in the village.”
With our locals under threat as never before, now is the time to back the Duke of Cornwall and highlight the importance of our pubs to village life and rural communities.
It is high time our pubs were remembered and celebrated, but we need the help of you, our readers. We want you to tell us why your local is special.
Is it home to the village panto, or host to local sports teams? Does the landlord or landlady go the extra mile to make the pub the hub?
Or is it just a special place where the people of your town or village like to congregate?
It must be stressed we’re not talking about pubs taken over by outsiders every night because of the quality of their food or what the police would call “vertical drinking establishments”. We really do want to promote the region’s best local pubs and the community services they offer.
Once you’ve convinced us, a lucky reporter will be dispatched to join you for a tipple and tell the story of your local. Every pub featured will receive a special WMN “We’re supporting our local” window sticker.
If you want to support your local, write to: The Pub is the Hub, Western Morning News, 17 Brest Road, Derriford, Plymouth, PL6 5AA, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.