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Plan brewing to save Broads pub

PUBLISHED: 09:39 31 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:15 30 June 2010

Its good beers, Friday night fish and chips and timeless interior (complete with roaring fire and talking parrot) have made it a legend on the Broads.

And over nearly four decades, Ray Norman - aka Winkle - has become almost as much a legend himself as landlord of the White Horse in Upton, near Acle.

Its good beers, Friday night fish and chips and timeless interior (complete with roaring fire and talking parrot) have made it a legend on the Broads.

And over nearly four decades, Ray Norman - aka Winkle - has become almost as much a legend himself as landlord of the White Horse in Upton, near Acle.

But while his larger-than-life character remains just as strong, it is his creaking bones and sciatica that keeps him in bed on a Saturday morning that have caused increasing concern of late to pub regulars.

For approaching his 67th birthday and admitting his body “does not do what I want it to anymore”, Mr Norman reluctantly decided more than a year ago it was time to retire.

However, despite the Chapel Lane pub being on the market at £350,000 for more than 12 months, there has been scarcely any interest in buying it as a going concern.

Now a group of villagers, fearing the possible closure of their only pub or its conversion into houses, are promoting a plan that would help Mr Norman retire and keep their community hub going.

They have called a public meeting at Upton village hall at 7.30pm on Friday, April 9, to discuss the possibility of villagers buying and running the pub themselves.

The plan, inspired by similar ventures in other parts of the country but thought to be the first like it in Norfolk, would involve supporters buying £500 shares to become stakeholders.

Each shareholder would have an equal say in running the business but potential future dividends would be paid out according to the number of shares held.

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