SHELLIE Clark knows just how valuable the community spirit at the Foresters Arms in Newthorpe is.
She organises annual fundraising events for a local toddler with Muscular Dystrophy and said everything is co-ordinated through the pub, calling it ‘the centre of everything’.
This year she organised a charity fun day in Underwood and raised £3,700.
But she said without the pub and its regulars, her events probably couldn’t happen.
“When it comes to my arranging things I rely on the regulars a lot,” she said. “They spread the news and invite friends and family.
“You always go there to sort things out. It’s the place where it all happens – the centre of everything.
“If there are any anniversaries or Christmas parties we always sort them out from there.”
The latest fun day was the third event Shellie has organised for five-year-old Aston Walls.
Last year she threw a charity ball that raised £2,200, and the year before two bus loads of Foresters Arms regulars were driven up to Matlock on a pub crawl which raised £1,300.
Shellie said the group of regulars – which include her parents and aunty and uncle – go on holiday to Tenerife together every Christmas and New Year and organise day trips and weekends away together every couple of months.
“They even all went to school together,” she said. “So every Friday night is like a school reunion!”
Her mum, Pat Hankin, said knocking the pub down would leave the elderly customers with ‘nowhere to go’, and would be ‘devastating’ for her group of friends.
“I’m sad,” she said. “It will be devastating. We all have a laugh and it’s nice to meet up.
“There’s a lot of old people that rely on it as well and I don’t know where they would go.”
A planning application was submitted to knock the pub down and build seven houses earlier this summer, leaving regulars – some who have been going for over 50 years – devastated.
Customers say it is the only pub in Newthorpe and taking it away would completely kill the village’s community spirit.
A petition with over 700 signatures on was recently submitted to Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry, who promised to back the customers’ campaign.