An historic pub where the famous poet John Clare used to drink and play the fiddle is being sold.
The John Clare Trust has decided to let go of the listed Exeter Arms in Church Lane, Helpston, which is not trading, to reinvest in a new facility to teach rural skills to young people in Peterborough.
Barry Sheerman, the Labour and Co-operative MP for Huddersfield, is the chairman of the trust.
He said: “We want to now really extend in partnership with local people like the Future Business Centre in Peterborough and do a lot more with rural skills training.
“We have a history of training young people, especially young people with special educational needs.
“We want to do a whole range of working with young people who want to get traditional rural skills, but with the modern skills matching them such as earth science, modern agriculture and data analytics.
“We want to show people there’s a real future in the rural economy.”
So far, there have been a few expressions of interest in buying the pub, which the trust purchased from Enterprise Inns in 2012. Once a new site is taken over the trust will teach skills such as dry stone walling and thatching, alongside the modern skills identified by Mr Sheerman.
The MP added: “Now is the time to develop the pub for the benefit of the whole of Helpston. It is with reluctance we are letting go of this lovely building which should be cherished and nurtured.
“It’s important to get the old site sold first and we are in conversation with local partners about the next stage.”
The John Clare Trust purchased the poet’s family home, the John Clare Cottage in Helpston, in 2005 which it then restored. Visitors to the cottage can learn more about the poet.