£500,000 raised in eight weeks to rescue Russell

MCBH week 02'rd'Butlers Cross residents try to buy the  Russell arms
MCBH week 02'rd'Butlers Cross residents try to buy the Russell arms

SEVENTY-five villagers who raised more than £500,000 in just eight weeks are now on course to save their pub.

Friends of the Russell in Butlers Cross have been fighting to save the village watering hole, The Russell Arms, since December last year when they discovered it up for sale online.

They have since managed to raise more £6,600 per household.

This has now been put forward as an offer for the pub, which has been accepted by owners Punch Taverns.

Matt Porter, a founder of the group, said he has been amazed by people’s generosity, especially given the current economic climate.

“People really have been fantastic,” he said.

“The Russell is the only pub remaining in our local community – and its more or less the only thing in Butlers Cross.

“We feel absolutely fantastic – it’s been quite an amazing process to be part of. Seeing that kind of energy and drive from people has been fantastic.

“There’s people that have lived here for more than 20 years who have never met one another, but this has brought people together. It’s been really heart-warming.”

The group is now looking to secure the deal with Punch Taverns which owns the Russell.

While Punch has accepted the villagers’ offer, the two parties have still to exchange contracts during the next couple of weeks. It is hoped the contracts will be completed by mid-April.

The Friends will then look to refurbish the pub, expected to take between four and six weeks, with the intention of reopening the pub by mid-May.