Littlehampton pub faces closure – so town comes out in force to help
Volunteers have come out in force to help save one of Littlehampton’s oldest pubs.
The Dolphin Pub has stood in Littlehampton High Street for 300 years.
So when landlady Ellie Boiling said it could be last orders for good due to the pandemic, the town came out in force to try to save it.
Earlier this week, volunteers rolled up their sleeves to give the watering hole a fresh lick of paint in an attempt to entice customers.
Ellie, 53, said that since she spoke out on Facebook last week, paintbrush and groundsheet deliveries had turned up at the pub, people had come in with monetary donations and she had been inundated with offers of help.
She said: “In a time where we can’t cuddle or shake hands, I have been touched by their kindness.
“Even if it is far too late and I have to leave this pub, I will take that kindness with me and I will never forget it.”
The pub dates back to 1735, with notable guests including the poet Lord Byron.
It has had its troubles in recent years, from vandalism and antisocial behaviour to the rise of Wetherspoons and the downturn in visitors to the town centre.
But coronavirus has left the business in dire straits, with Ellie telling the Gazette in March that she feared the lockdown would be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
It seemed her fears were valid, as she said she had been taking around £900 a week since the pandemic began, where she needed £5,000 a week to just break even.
After a recent conversation with her brewery, Ellie – who has been landlady for 21 years – had one month to turn trade around or she would have to close the pub and file for bankruptcy, leaving her homeless, she said.
Already she has sold many possessions to pay her bills, and faced the loss of her mother just before lockdown began. Recently, she has been the subject of a bullying campaign on social media, which she said she tried to ignore. But this kindness had lifted her spirits. “I’ve been overwhelmed by the community spirit of Littlehampton,” she said.