Oxford

'War cabinet' formed to buy pub where Churchill 'learned to drink'

White House pub Image copyright Steve Daniels
Image caption The residents of Bladon need to raise £580,000 to buy The White House

People in an Oxfordshire village have teamed up in a bid to save a pub once frequented by Sir Winston Churchill.

A "war cabinet" aims to raise the money needed to buy The White House in Bladon where, it is claimed, Britain's wartime leader "learned to drink".

The plan has the backing of Sir Winston's great grandson, Randolph Churchill.

Current owners Greene King are selling the property as a pub but residents fear it could be converted into flats.

Campaigner Clare Edwards said: "There's nothing to stop a potential purchaser buying it, leaving it open as a pub for a few weeks, shutting it, and applying for a change of use."

Residents have six months to raise the £580,000 needed to buy the 16th Century pub and have so far collected more than £110,000.

Image caption Sir Winston is buried at St Martin's Churchyard in Bladon

Mike Edwards, of Bladon Community Pub Committee, said: "To quote Sir Winston, we plan to 'never give in, never give in'."

He said residents had followed the example of the pub's "most revered patron" by forming "our own war cabinet" to keep "this Churchillian centre to our village open".

Sir Winston was born at the nearby Blenheim Palace, and was buried at St Martin's Churchyard in the village.

Randolph Churchill said: "Our family is very proud of our association with Bladon and the love and care the community gives towards my great grandfather's resting place."

He said the plans had the "family's blessing".

A Greene King spokesperson said: "We appreciate the importance of the pub to the Bladon community and are offering the property for sale as a public house with the benefit of the premises licence.

"We will carry out a thorough and fair process to agree a sale when we have received bids from all interested parties."

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