Enthusiastic residents snapped up facts about a unique campaign to bring back an Aldwick pub.
Hundreds of copies of the prospectus for the community fundraising scheme for The Ship Inn were collected by those who went along to its launch events opposite the pub and at Rose Green.
Among those who will be investing in the new venture is Aldwick resident Sarah Bodigian-Sharpe.
She said: “I will be buying some shares. I have lived here since 1990 and I used to drink at the pub when I was 17.
“It used to be a lovely pub and I just think it will be good for the community to have a good meeting place. It will bring people together and is within walking distance for a lot of people.”
her friend, fellow Aldwick resident Bridget Baxter, said: “I will be reading the prospectus. I moved to this area 16 years ago and it’s important to have a nice pub.
“You can see by how many people are here on a Saturday morning how many of them feel the same.
“It will be nice to have a pub which is closer than the ones in Nyetimber.”
The Ship Inn share issue gives people the chance to invest upwards of £100 to turn the empty building back into a pub with a restaurant.
It has been launched by the Aldwick Community Society Ltd. Its chairman, Roger Beam, who also chairs the Friends of The Ship Inn, said: “As far as I am aware, this is the first time in this country that a campaign has been launched to turn a former shop which replaced a pub back into a pub.”
It is hoped £500,000 will be raised through the share issue to buy the freehold of the Aldwick Street building. Refitting the building will cost an extra £300,000.
The share issue is open until April 18 and must raise £450,000 to enable the project to go ahead. If it fails, investors will be refunded their money.
An ale house on the site dates back more than 200 years. But the pub was closed by its then operator, Enterprise Inns in 2014. It became a convenience store but that also shut some three years ago.
It has since stood empty but Tesco-owned One Stop Stores wants to open a store there.
Mr Beam said he was ‘pretty confident’ the share issue would succeed.
“We only need 1,250 people to invest £400 each and we will have reached our target,” he said. “The share prospectus has been flying off the table.
“We will be out during the week as well as well as next weekend and we have 3,000 copies to distribute. We want everyone in Aldwick to know about this share issue.
“If we reach our target, the community will own the pub and the community will run it.”
It is intended the pub will be open from morning coffee to last orders and will act as a hub for clubs and societies as well as drinkers and diners.
An open day about the plans will be held from 7pm-9pm next Wednesday at the Aldwick Parish Council offices in Pryors Lane. The share prospectus is available from Tudor News, Aldwick Street; Post Office, Rose Green Road; and Craigweil News, Barrack Lane.