Members of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, including lead Bradley Creswick, are performing in a festive concert to help Ryton community members buy their local pub.
The concert, which will take place in the Holy Cross Church in Ryton on December 21st, will raise money to help buy Ye Olde Cross – a village pub that has been closed for almost a year.
Since the pub’s closure, more than 200 Ryton residents have bought community shares totaling £232,000 in order to buy and reopen the pub. With an offer accepted on the building, the residents need a further £18,000 to meet the target.
Royal Northern Sinfonia musician and Ryton resident Michael O’Donnell have organized a concert to help raise further funds.
Mike and his fellow musicians have put together a programme which will include a performance of ‘Winter’ from Vivaldis Four Seasons by Royal Northern Sinfonia lead Bradley Creswick.
The festive fundraiser will also include excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and concertos including Mozart’s rondo from the fourth horn concerto.
Mike said: “It should be a fantastic concert and it’s certainly grown in scale since the idea came to me! I hope we will do the pub proud.”
The campaign to reopen Ye Olde Cross has also gained support from former Ryton resident and Unthanks member Rachel Unthank, Gateshead Councillor Liz Twist and North East brewery Firebrick.
The pub closed permanently in January this year, following a succession of failed tenancies. However, in previous decades the pub had been at the heart of the community in Ryton. Rachel Unthank, like many people in the village, has fond memories of the pub. She said: “ I’ve had many great times at the Cross, carols on the green, singing in the pub, New Years family parties upstairs in the function room, I have a lot of lovely memories from that pub.”
The pub, which is thought to be more than 100 years old, has been central to a number of community events like the annual village Christmas carol concert and the Hirings – originally an event for farm and domestic workers to find jobs in the 19th century, which was resurrected by Ryton Heritage Group in 2008 as a fundraising event for community groups. It is thought there has been an inn on the site since the 17th century.
An application to Gateshead Council to list the pub as an Asset of Community Value was granted in May this year, and the group have already received support and some funding from the Plunkett Foundation, which supports the creation of community businesses.
Members of the community have produced a business plan, share offer and website. The documents have been awarded a kitemark called the Community Shares standard.
The group have also set up a community benefit society, a type of cooperative, called Ryton Cross Community Society Ltd, in order to sell shares to raise a total of 350,000 to buy and renovate the building.
If the pub is successfully purchased and reopened, it will be one of more than 80 community pubs in operation across the country.
Ryton Cross Community Society member Colin Cheeseman, who has lived in Ryton for 35 years, said: “When the Cross shut we got everyone together just to see if there was interest in re-opening it, and I couldn’t believe it when so many people turned up to our first public meeting. The pub is a really important part of this community, and we want a place where everyone in the village gets a warm welcome. It will be more than just a pub, it will be a support network for Ryton and the wider area”
The pub will provide traditional pub services, with a tenant hired to provide local ales and pub food, pop-up restaurant nights and coffee mornings, but it will also look at ways to support vulnerable people in the community, provide work experience and education, and support the physical and mental wellbeing of Ryton’s residents.
Our website: www.yeoldecross.co.uk