The new library at the Old Inn at Mullion was officially opened by a Battle of Britain fighter pilot, author and local resident, Geoffrey Wellum yesterday. The project has been completed in partnership with Cornwall Council’s Library Services and the support of rural pub champions Pub is The Hub.
When it came to finding a VIP to open the library, Mullion boasts a very special resident in Geoffrey Wellum, now aged 94. He fought in the Battle of Britain in World War II and, as a result, subsequently a published the book: ‘First Light: The Story of the Boy Who Became a Man in the War-Torn Skies Above Britain’ The book was made into a TV drama in 2010.
Situated in one of the myriad of small rooms within the pub, the library room boasts several shelves of books, comfy seating and a computer terminal connected to the internet. There, customers can browse the shelves that are managed and monitored by the Library Service or order books online to be delivered weekly.
Licensee, Sara Liddle is thrilled with the project and loves the idea that local people will have access to library books. She said: “I am incredibly proud of our new library. I love books and the whole thing is very in keeping with the traditional and timeless feel of the Old Inn.”
Brought up in St Ives, Sara left Cornwall for university and a twenty year career running pubs for large chains such as Whitbread and Greene King. Having dreamt of returning to run her own pub she finally took the lease of the Old Inn from St Austell Brewery in February 2014 and has enjoyed developing the traditional food, drink and accommodation side of the business before embarking on this new project.
Sara added: “I am thrilled Geoffrey agreed to come along and officially open the library. His book will pride of place on the shelf!”
Assisting in the library and funding 50% of the cost with Pub is The Hub has been Pat Terry from Cornwall Council’s Library Services. Pat said: “We have developed 15 micro libraries in Cornwall in the last two years and this is the eleventh such library in a pub. I’ve also been talking to Sara about how she can facilitate some IT training for older residents who want some support in using the online ordering system on the computer.”
Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund was established with funding from the government and the drinks manufacturer Diageo PLC in April 2013 to help UK pubs to diversify into new services provision for their own communities. In launching the fund, Pub is The Hub recognised that good licensees today can work with the public, private and voluntary sector to improve the local economy and is able to provide grants of up to £4,000.
The photograph shows: Chris Sandow (Cornwall Council Library Services), Sara Liddle (licensee at the Old Inn, Mullion), Reg Clarke (South West Regional Advisor for Pub is the Hub) and Geoffrey Wellum (ex-fighter pilot, author and local resident)