BRA Committee Member, David Cox reports
Following a donation by the Anchor Pub to the BRA, we found out more about the amazing fund raising that has been undertaken by this local pub which has a true community spirit.
Tony Mann, an Anchor regular, organises the quiz nights, manages the funds raised, distributing to and liaising with beneficiaries whilst keeping the regulars informed of how the funds are being used. He told us more about this community success story.
The Anchor pub in Bookham has raised money for local good causes since the mid-90’s through a weekly quiz night and occasional raffles. The quiz only raised between £20 and £40 per week, but it soon mounted up enough to make significant contributions to local schools, hospitals and hospices, youth clubs, churches and various causes for the elderly and infirm, like Help for Heroes, Surrey Air Ambulance and Mid-Surrey Alzheimer's Society.
Debbie Bancroft and her husband Paul took over the management of the pub in October 2011 and Debbie was more than happy to continue with and promote the quiz. Then, on the first weekend of December that year, she introduced a weekly Bonus Ball draw and Sunday meat raffle, both of which have continued (with the quiz) until today. Customers warmly welcomed the two new fundraisers plus a few odd raffles and draws thrown in and wholeheartedly got behind them, so much so that over the last 11 ½ years the pub has, as at the end of July 2023, made donations to local good causes totalling £55,000! And there’s still £1069 in the kitty!*
Needless to say, this staggering total is the result of a collective pub effort by Debbie and her regulars; there cannot be a more generous group of customers anywhere. And it’s not just money they have contributed but time and effort too. Whilst tickets for the bonus ball draw and meat raffle are sold over the bar at any time during the week, Debbie will go round on a busy Friday evening selling them and regulars will continue the job on Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes. It’s also regulars who think up and run many of additional fundraisers such as the Rugby Six Nations Swindle.
The main beneficiaries of the donations have been close to the pub – and close to hearts of Debbie, her staff and all the customers. The main one was Keswick Care Home, just across the road from The Anchor, to whom the pub gave £500 for garden furniture then £100 every month from May 2018 onwards (including all through lockdowns), for the resident’s welfare fund. Unfortunately the Council closed the home in March 2022, so the pub transferred the monthly payment to the local Foodbank (these days called Good Company), increasing it to £150pm in January this year.
Sight for Surrey has received several donations, including for some computer keyboards with Braille keys and indoor “parachute jumping” for a number of younger blind and partially-sighted children. The excellent Bookham Youth and Community Centre (again right across the road from The Anchor) also benefited from several donations for furniture, kitchen equipment, a new garden and much more. Sadly the Council has seen fit to close this valuable local community asset too.
For the community at large the pub has purchased a number of defibrillators costing several thousand pounds, all strategically placed around Bookham and Effingham – and continues to buy the replacement batteries for them all when required.
Normally donations are made a) for a strictly local cause and b) for something specific, such as playground equipment for Eastwick School special needs, books and globes for St. Lawrence School, Christmas lights for Bookham High Street, the King George V playground, etc, but occasionally the customers will ask that a contribution is made to a an international appeal such as the flood disaster in The Philippines in 2013, the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and the Ukraine Appeal last year.
During Lockdown, the Anchor raised funds “online” to provide meals in support of a local welfare group with the help of Clarke’s Cafe, Bookham Tandoori and others. The meals were delivered by regulars at the pub with deliveries co-ordinated by one of our local school teachers. In addition, elderly regulars were “looked after” and “kept an eye on” by Debbie and other users of the pub.
Most recently The Anchor was pleased to help towards part of Wildlife Aid’s expansion with the purchase of a much-needed, animal-sized dental X-ray machine and a vegetable garden project for The Dawnay School.
Sadly Debbie Bancroft retires in August but her loyal band of fund-raising customers will no doubt continue to honour her very worthy legacy.