First birthday celebrations for Railway Arms in community ownership

Group outside The Railway Arms in Saffron Walden, with new black and white signage

The Railway Arms in Saffron Walden has celebrated its first birthday in community ownership and now has new black and white signage - Credit: The Railway Arms

The Railway Arms has celebrated its first anniversary in community ownership with live music and their first pub quiz.

And to mark the first anniversary the pub also unveiled new signage in black and white.

Smiling woman with birthday cake which states: Happy 1st Birthday. Railway Arms, Saffron Walden

The Railway Arms, Saffron Walden is pictured on it's first birthday cake now it's in community ownership - Credit: The Railway Arms

In a challenging year because of the Covid pandemic and nationally imposed restrictions to protect public health, the pub had to remain closed for the first six months until mid April.

However, this allowed volunteers and helpers to completely refurbish and decorate the old building.

Most of the work to the main building is now complete.

On Saturday, Mr Coverman Darren Stammers and his band Brown Paper Bag played to the packed venue.

On Sunday the pub’s first quiz took place with a large attendance. This will be a regular Sunday feature moving forward.

Pub quiz participants, The Railway Arms, Saffron Walden, Essex

The Railway Arms in Saffron Walden held its first pub quiz as part of first birthday celebrations under community ownership - Credit: The Railway Arms

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Reflecting on the first year, Save the Railway Arms Pub chairman Dave Kenny said he wanted to congratulate the community who had helped to save a much-loved asset.

He said: “Saturday’s anniversary party was the first anniversary party for community ownership but the pub had overseen similar celebrations for the past 156 years and will continue to do so long into the future"

He said that instrumental to the pub’s success has been Pub Manager Graham Pearson, who took charge of the day to day running back in May.

“A year ago Saffron Walden won the pub that they had fought for. I couldn't be more proud to work in a place with such incredible history and people!”

Mr Kenny said they still face challenges including the recruitment of staff, which has been particularly difficult for the hospitality sector and no different for the Railway.

They are working on kitchen appointments and when that is complete will be able to announce what food will be available to order.

They also still need to make a decision about what to do with the pub’s cart shed, hayloft, stables and workshop buildings.

This topic will be discussed over the coming months as to how these buildings can benefit the community.