Former boss of Robin Hood pub in Guildford has plan to ‘save’ her beloved boozer

The former boss of a Guildford pub that stopped trading last month has launched a fundraiser to “save” the premises.

The Robin Hood pub, which has been run by Veru Melca for the last four-and-a-half years, closed its doors at the end of October.

Veru, who describes the business as her “baby”, expressed her disappointment at the closure to SurreyLive.

She said: “For four years I have just been trying to survive because these last few years have been really bad for business. That’s why I was working by myself.

“I did everything possible to give the best food, ingredients and beer. I am really proud of what I have done so I am sad, it was my baby.”

The pub closed its doors for the final time ahead of the second lockdown
(Image: Will Bradley)

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The pub shut following a legal dispute with the building’s owners, Punch Pubs. Although Punch Pubs told SurreyLive it is “reviewing all options” for the future, Veru believes the landlord intends to sell it for development.

As a result, she has now launched a fundraising campaign to buy the pub, with a target of crowdfunding £450,000.

The GoFundMe page reads: “She made it her mission to reopen the pub or any other pub at risk, with the community behind her.

Veru Melca inside the Robin Hood pub in February 2019
(Image: Surrey Live / Darren Pepe)

“She gave all her passion, money and care, and she put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this little pub, so she won’t give up easily.”

The pub, which was once in the running to be crowned the Guildford in Bloom winner and was often seen adorned with hanging baskets full of flowers, now stands empty and boarded up in Sydenham Road.

Veru, 48, says she is aware of the “enormous” target, which she will also be contributing to, but she is hopeful it is something the community will also back.

“I am so passionate about it because the first day I went into the Robin Hood pub I felt so in love with it. I thought it was so tiny and beautiful and personal. I would fight for any pub to stay open, but this one has a very big place in my heart. I gave everything,” she said.

SurreyLive approached Punch Pubs for further comment on the plans, but it said its previous statement from managing director, Andy Spencer, still stands.

He said: “We can confirm that the Robin Hood pub closed after we mutually agreed the surrender of the agreement with our publican at the end of October. We are currently reviewing all of our options for the future of the pub.”

You candonate to Veru’s fundraiser by visiting the dedicated GoFundMe page here.

Surrey Live – News