Vicki's Secret Fundraiser

It started as a conversation between two people and ended up as one of the best days The Prince of Wales will ever see…

Most people in the area know The Prince of Wales, and if you know the pub you know the landlady. Vicki has been running the pub for over 10 years turning it around from a struggling backstreet boozer to a real ale heaven. During this time Vicki has battled a serious illness which has taken a bad turn in recent years, but this hasn’t stopped her doing more than her bit for the local community.

After all she’s done over the years it was only right that it was time to give something back. Some of her friends had an idea to hold a fundraiser especially for Vicki and when the pub staff got ear of the idea they took it head on and put a plan together.

It was only right get all of the community and local businesses involved. The response was amazing. Everyone that was contacted had no hesitation in saying yes. Tanners, Salopian, Hobsons, Three Tuns, Woods and St. Austell all donated barrels of beer, Coleham’s G.O. Elson Butchers donated meat for the BBQ, and plenty of local businesses sponsored the event too, but the next step proved difficult. Getting the word out without Vicki knowing.

It was safe to say we had a few other worries as it was the same weekend as the Shrewsbury Flower Show ‘and' the Great British Real Ale Festival. Word of mouth was all we could rely on so there were a few close calls of letting the secret out and at times she seemed suspicious… but somehow we got away with it!

The morning arrived and it was time to tell her. Vicki was sat outside and everyone already there gathered around her. I handed her one of the fundraiser programmes; she examined it for a while looking very puzzled, she really didn’t have a clue! In a very emotional moment, I’m sure she won’t forget, we explained it was all for her as thank you for everything she’s done over the years.

The day that followed will go down in the pub’s history.

Kicking things off with a bowls competition the pub was already busy at 11am! Our worries about getting the people in had gone; the place was heaving by lunchtime with real ale flowing, the BBQ fired up, and The Academy playing live in the sun, followed by a chilled acoustic set indoors from Rebecca Wynn. People from around the town, and even across the country, filled the pub up. Face painting, wet sponge stocks, head shaves, disco, Paolo’s Italian cooking, raffle and auction... we had it all! From 11am into the early hours The Prince of Wales was rocking.

We couldn’t have imagined how well the day would go and it was matched with an unbelievably generous £5780 raised. On behalf of Vicki, Ian and myself I’d like to thank everyone involved and who supported the day. We all showed the true community spirit that’s alive in Belle Vue and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The Belle Vue Magazine is a community magazine for Belle Vue, Coleham, Reabrook and Sutton Park. Phil Gillam, editor.
Find them on Twitter @bellevuemagz or email bellevuemagazine@gmail.com