Baroness Wilcox, David Westley, Will Gore from The i Newspaper
When the only pub in his village, The Case is Altered, closed in March 2013 and started to fall derelict, David rallied around to save it as a community resource. He started a campaign, ‘Save the Case’, in June 2013, during which he organised meetings and formed a committee, who worked together to draw up a business plan, issue a prospectus, and run a community share issue. David even took just under three months unpaid leave from his job as an IT solutions analyst at AXA, in Ipswich, and sacrificed much of his social life to ensure he could oversee the task.
In just six months, Bentley Community Pub Ltd, the not-for-profit society established by David, had bought the pub, organised working parties to renovate it, and organised a volunteer rota to clean it and staff it. The pub, The Case is Altered, finally reopened on April 17, 2014. The pub is now a thriving centre of village life thanks to his efforts.
“David Westley was the helmsman who made it happen and now the pub is thriving
and the centre of village life”
David selflessly took three months unpaid leave to help achieve this. Although in his working life he has never had responsibility for other staff, for the campaign to save the pub he has organised a wide variety of people in a wide range of activities.
The village now has a social hub which is more than just the local pub. People from all backgrounds and all ages have come together for social events such as the Children’s Halloween Party and the Seniors Christmas Lunch. There is a book club and a Handicraft Circle.
As Chairman of Bentley Community Pub Ltd, David continues to take a leading role in the management and ongoing development of the pub. His achievements have also inspired others, with a new team being formed to oversee the opening of a village shop in the pub’s car park – the village has been without a shop for the past 12 years.
‘An inspirational and driven man who puts his community first’.