Chairman's Address to Shareholders on the opening of The Plough

Welcome to all shareholders and guests.  I speak on behalf of your directors: Angie Miller, Dave Lea and Phil Larder.  I will forward a copy of this address to all shareholders, so those who cannot attend tonight will have the information.


I want to take a couple of minutes of your time to reflect on what we have achieved.  We showed you on June 16th at our purchase party, what the pub was like, warts and all.  Tonight we show you what it has become.  We hope that you approve of our changes.


When we started out on this journey nearly a year ago, we had 3 objectives:

  1. To buy the pub;
  2. To open the pub after refurbishment and;
  3. To make the pub a community asset.


I like to think that a 4th objective is to make a profitable return for you all.  That journey will begin after tonight.


Well we bought the pub………………………., we, together.


As you can see, we have now completed the refurbishment.  To get the pub from where it was on June 16th, frankly, internally a bit of a wreck, to what it is now, means that a lot of people have worked very hard.


On your behalf I would like to thank them.


Our main contractors were:

  1. Gareth Hudson who has among many other works made such a tremendous job of restoring and remaking our bar and internal wood finishes.  He is not here but on a well-earned holiday.
  2. Chris Aram who has among other plumbing works given us toilets that we might be pleased to visit unlike the ones that were here before.
  3. Ron Walters who has been responsible for upgrading and improving all of the electrical works and lighting.

We should also like to commend to you Lynda Woodrow who has skilfully breathed new and brighter light into our beams.  Chris, Ron & Lynda are all here tonight.  Look upon their works and marvel. 


We have been blessed with a veritable army of volunteers, some 30 or more individuals.  Some of them gave us a few hours and others gave us many days.  Many spent days painting and gardening and others popped in and made us a very welcome cup of tea or bought us a cake to keep us going.  We thank them all and many of them are here amongst us.  We estimate the value of the volunteers work to be not less than £25,000 to all shareholders. 


To each of those volunteers I say, “Remember the bit that you did and when you come in for a drink or a meal, look on your works as your badge of pride.” 


It is always invidious to mention a few individuals from so many splendid souls, but there are some who have provided outstanding commitment.  Kathy Ethelston in the garden, Amy Ethelston in the garden and as a dab hand painter, Marie Haynes & Lynda Scott for rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in, Paul Haines and Tom Bradshaw for being ready to help so often in so many ways. 


Barry & Di Sutton have almost lived here for the entire refurbishment period not even taking a day off for their anniversary.  We think that they only missed 3 days out of the 24 that we worked.    


I’m sorry if I’ve missed mentioning anyone specifically, but so many of you came in and made a telling contribution.  This staggeringly fine result could not have been made without you.


Phil Larder and Dave Lea worked together on the planning of the refurbishment and co-ordinated the volunteers and the contractors.  They did a splendid job.  The evidence is there to be seen.


Phil Larder, as project co-ordinator and operations supervisor has lived and breathed this pub for 24 days.  Volunteers were always told to “ask Phil” for the next job from his very long list. On behalf of you all, I thank Phil for his outstanding effort.


The final objective of making this pub a community asset is down to us and our new landlords, Phil & Fi.  We have a chance to make The Plough a place where we regularly meet our village friends.  It is not a place for a special night out.  It is a special place for any night out.  We offer our thanks and good wishes to Phil & Fi.  They have set up a home and a business during all the chaos.  For them the new chapter starts tonight and I ceremonially hand the keys of the pub to them.


We did more work than we envisaged.  We took a bit more time and we spent a bit more money than we planned, but we think the end result is worth it.  We now look forward to just being customers.


The sign outside says “Community Free House”.  The fare will not be free, but this is definitely a Community house.


Please enjoy tonight and support your new landlords on many more nights.


Chris French, Chairman

Hanney Community Pub Ltd                                               10 July 2015

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