The Bluebell Inn: Helpston residents rally in bid to buy last pub in village near Peterborough

The Bluebell Inn in Helpston has been put up for sale.

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Residents in Helpston have come together in a bid to buy their local pub.

In January, the Bluebell Inn, on Woodgate, was put up for sale by its owner. The pub itself has been described at the “Jewel of Helpston” and been a focal point in the John Clare countryside since the 1700s (Clare Cottage is next door).

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It is the final pub left in the village when there was once eight.

The community in Helpston show their support for saving The Bluebell Inn.The community in Helpston show their support for saving The Bluebell Inn.
The community in Helpston show their support for saving The Bluebell Inn.

Helpston residents have now formed a Community Benefit Society, which has been officially registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, with the intention of purchasing the pub.

The society has issued the following mission statement: “The Society exists to serve the people of Helpston and surrounding area with a first-class rural pub providing a focus for community events and activities whilst delivering sustainable profits that will be reinvested in the community.”

The funding is expected to come through a mix of locals buying into a community share scheme as well as grant funding.

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The group will be applying for funding from the government’s Community Ownership Fund, which is grant money provided under the Levelling Up scheme. The group is also applying for National Lottery and other grants.

The Bluebell Inn in Helpston.The Bluebell Inn in Helpston.
The Bluebell Inn in Helpston.

In January, a seven-person steering group was set up to coordinate the bid, led by resident Tony Henthorn- who has published the local community magazine- The Village Tribune- for the last 25 years. Tony is also the treasurer for the village hall.

Tony said: “We asked the questions to residents through a survey and it came back that from the 152 responses we got (Helpston has just over 500 houses) that saving the local pub was important or very important to them.

"We also had resounding support from over 120 residents who attended out first town hall meeting where we asked if we should push ahead with plans.

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"We have very much got the support of the village, they’ve made it clear to us that they want to retain the pub. It is a great asset and we’d be really sad to lose it.”

The group’s efforts can be followed on Facebook at and online at