Going the extra mile to save their community's store

Related tags Red lion Cricket John

Red Lion, Coleshill, Buckinghamshire Thirteen years ago Coleshill village shop closed its doors, leaving local residents with nowhere to buy...

Red Lion, Coleshill, Buckinghamshire

Thirteen years ago Coleshill village shop closed its doors, leaving local residents with nowhere to buy essential groceries. Since then, Red Lion hosts John and Christine Ullman have opened their doors at 9am to provide this service for the villagers. John says: 'It's very popular, we just sell a few essentials over the bar, someone often pops in at 11pm because they've run out of milk.

The pub also plays host to two men's and one women's darts team, two quiz teams, a crib and a dominoes team. Winning teams always get a night out on the Ullmans and John says that so far this year it's cost them a pretty penny.

Fund-raising is also very important to the Red Lion and over the past three years, more than £50,000 has been raised for charity.

This year two customers ran in the London marathon, raising £3,000 for Macmillan Cancer Relief and children's cancer charity CLIC. Customers also power-walked the New York marathon, raising £800 for breast cancer charities.

As well as running the pub, John is chairman of the local cricket club and trains the youth cricket team. During the summer a fireworks display organised by the Ullmans raised enough money to buy two new nets so that local youngsters can enjoy the sport.

John says: 'Villages now have very little in the way of centre points to meet, there's just the church, the school and us, so we are a centre for the village. I think all villages are communities and we're an important part of it.

So it comes as no surprise that the Red Lion was named Chiltern district council's Community Pub of the Year this summer.

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