AN EDEN campaign group is asking for punters to put their hands in their pockets to save the village pub from closure.

The Lyvennet Community Trust is urging villagers in Crosby Ravensworth to dig deep to buy a share of the newly re-opened Butchers Arms which has been shut for the past six months.

Under the increasingly popular co-operative model - first championed by the Old Crown at Hesket Newmarket in Cumbria - the trust hopes that the pub can remain open and continue to be the lifeblood of the community.

Over 90 shares of £1,500 have been snapped up by villagers and people across the country so far, but the group is keen to encourage more investment.

David Graham, chair of the Lyvennet Community Trust, has worked closely with Julian Ross of the Old Crown co-op and is confident that the same model can work in Crosby Ravensworth.

“The share system gives people a chance to own part of a rural community,” he said. “It is a safe investment, and the Hesket Newmarket model has shown that turnover has increased dramatically, and the community spirit in having shared ownership of your pub is really noticeable.”

The pub’s owners Colin and Sue Wilson are keen to see the idea take off and are supporting the Lyvennet Community Trust by re-opening the pub for a six month trial period.

“We wanted to sell up for personal reasons six months ago but we couldn’t find a buyer so we had to close,” said Mr Wilson. “This village deserves a good pub and it’s a good business so I am hopeful that they can get enough money together to buy it.”

Village hairdresser and trust organiser Kitty Smith said: “The co-op idea is certainly the way forward because the last thing we want is to close the doors and it be sold off as a house.

“If people can’t offer a share themselves then we are encouraging people to get together with some friends so that they can divide the cost out. Hopefully we will be able to get a shop in the pub too, and then set up a micro-brewery with real ale.”

Eden District Councillor for Crosby Ravensworth Joan Raine said : “We’ve already lost our shop, post office, and second pub, so the last thing we want is for the village to look dead or like a holiday village. Rural life is disapearing fast and we want the pub back as the hub.”

The pub was officially re-opened by prospective parliamentary candidate Rory Stewart who cut the ribbon with councillor Raine. He also pledged to buy a share.

For more information on how to get involved with the Save the Butchers Arms campaign visit