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Historic pub closes doors temporarily after tenant moves out

A historic pub in south Norfolk which was once frequented by Second World War US airmen has closed it doors temporarily after its tenant moved out.

The closure of The Greyhound in Tibenham was announced on its Facebook page on March 1.

But owners Martin and Nicola Adams said while the pub is shut at the moment they are planning to re-open it.

The pub, in The Street, dates back to 1731 and was popular with US airmen stationed nearby during the Second World War.

Hollywood legend James Stewart was based at Tibenham and the pub displayed items connected to him from that time.

The American actor and military pilot was one of the most famous names to serve in the region. He arrived in Britain with the 445th Bomb Group in November 1943, when the Group was assigned to Tibenham.

In March 1944, he was transferred to RAF Old Buckenham as group operations officer of the 453rd Bombardment Group.

He paid return visits to Norfolk in later years, and opened the Norfolk Gliding Clubs Airshow in Tibenham in 1975.

During the conflict, Tibenham Airfield was home to the 445th Bombardment Group from November 1943.

Since the end of the war, the site has become a site of pilgrimage for veterans and the families of many Americans who served there.

Eric Ratcliffe, former Tibenham resident and author, said: “I used to hear stories of the airmen going to the pub and having a drink.”

He added that he provided the pub with a picture of a group of four American airmen using it.

Gareth Roderick-Jones, chairman of Tibenham Parish Council, said Mr Stewart was well known in the area and also confirmed American airmen used to “use The Greyhound as their local”.

He added: “We did have photos on the walls, they have now gone to the gliding club for safekeeping.”

But the pub, which also hosted 1940s wartime events in its grounds, closed its doors this week and Mr Roderick-Jones said its former tenant moved out a few days ago.

Mr Adams said he and his wife have been “trying to save it” after buying the property in December 2019.

He added: “The pub is not closing, it’s closed at the moment while we’re getting it cleaned. We’re hoping to open it by the end of the month.

“Village pub’s are closing a dozen a day around the country, more so since lockdown.

“When we bought it, the pub had been on the market since February. No-one was going to come and buy it, it would be shut now.

“We’re here, we’re saving the pub. It’s not closing permanently.”

Mr Adams said they are currently looking for a new tenant or manager.

Mr Roderick-Jones added that the pub was registered as a community asset.

Eastern Daily Press: Aircraft on display at previous 1940s weekend in Tibenham.Aircraft on display at previous 1940s weekend in Tibenham. (Image: Archant)

It comes after plans for seven two-bedroom holiday lodges behind the historic pub were approved last June.

Andrew McArdle, who was speaking on behalf of those objecting to the plans, said The Greyhound had been at the heart of the village for 300 years and the lodges would take away from space used for community events.

The applicant, Martin Adams, said at the time that the proposals had been misunderstood, and they were needed to ensure the pub could survive.

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