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Joy as village pub that was forced to shut is rescued

PUBLISHED: 14:46 10 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 10 February 2019

Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

A lifeline has been thrown to a village pub which was forced to close last year.

Julie Oatham, 53, had been running the Butchers Arms in East Ruston, near Stalham, for 27 years until rising overheads and shrinking takings forced her to shut the venue.

But just four days after the closure in early October, two businessmen from Lowestoft stepped in and offered to buy the pub and have Mrs Oatham stay on for at least a year.

The landlady, who also lives at the pub with husband Gary, 54, who tends bar, said: “Our emotions were really up and down, because after 27 years we had lost everything - we had no place to go.

“But then these two came in and said they wanted to buy the place, and within five weeks they did and asked me to stay on.

The Butchers Arms, East Ruston
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019The Butchers Arms, East Ruston Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

“It was really lovely and a huge relief for us.”

The Butchers Arms remained shut for two months while refurbishments were carried out.

Mrs Oatham said: “We took the time to de-clutter and turn the little restaurant into a games room with darts and pool and a telly, so the local youngsters have somewhere to go at night because there’s not a lot around here.”

She said the focus was now on extending the range of activities on offer at the venue.

Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Mrs Oatham said: “It has to be more than just a pub. You don’t have to come here and drink.

“We’re here for anything the community wants to throw at us.”

The venue now has a walking club, an arts-and-crafts group, quiz night on the first Tuesday of the month and live music some weekends.

Mrs Oatham said they were also planning to have a special Valentine’s Day menu, an Easter fair with children’s activities, and a junior pool tournament.

Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

She said: “We’ve now got a year to do every we can to put it back at the centre of the community.”

Mrs Oatham said they needed to spread the word about the pub, as many people had not realised they were again open for business.

The venue was first opened as a beer-house in 1836 after three cottages, the middle of which was a butcher’s, were combined.

The Butchers Arms is open from midday to 7pm on Sunday and midday-2pm and 6.30pm till late Tuesday to Saturday.

Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Julie Oatham is back behind the bar at The Butchers Arms pub in East Ruston after someone saved the pub from closure in the final hour. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Anyone who wants to find out more about upcoming events there can follow the pub on Facebook @thebutchersarmseastruston.

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