Wellingborough pub reaches £160,000 for charities with latest donation

The Ranelagh Arms pub regulars have been raising glasses and money for nearly two decades

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 7:00 am

The landlord of a popular traditional back street Wellingborough pub has celebrated another year of fundraising with a donation to a cancer charity.

Regulars at The Ranelagh Arms in Ranelagh Road have been fundraising for various charities ever since landlord Chris O'Reilly took over the pub 18 years ago.

Now their combined efforts from years of events including golf days, sponsored walks, meat raffles, quiz nights and lotteries and even a swear box have seen the total raised hit more than £160,000.

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Chris O'Reilly landlord of the Ranelagh Arms

Chris and his friends added to the total with £6,250.66 being donated to Macmillan Cancer Support this year, with previous amounts dedicated to charities close to regulars' hearts.

He said: "I like fundraising but it's a team thing. We are a very close community. We have walked Hadrian's Wall six times - I've done it three. I walked the Great Wall of China with two members of staff. We have raised money for the WNNAA air ambulance, Marie Curie, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Crazy Hats.

"Every year we have a 'Longest Day' golf tournament, on June 21, the Wellingborough posties do a collection for us every time and they donated £300 for us."

London-born Chris, 58, has lived in Wellingborough since he was two-and-a-half. His dad was a regular at the pub even before Chris took over.

The Ranelagh Arms with landlord Chris O'Reilly

The former railway safety engineer took on the pub, maintaining the traditions of community and sports with teams competing in cribbage, bar billiards, darts, and pool.

Chris even did the double at the Charles Wells Awards winning the 'Top Fundraiser' and the 'Beer and Cellar Champion' categories in 2020 - despite Covid.

Chris said: "We are known for good beer and good company. The people here are like my family. Everyone is so close and we have helped each other, especially during Covid. It's a proper community pub.

"During Covid about 12 of us were in a WhatsApp group. We met up to go for walks. The pub was closed and we supported each other.

Chris on the Great Wall of China

"No-one knew how long the pandemic would be. We closed and then re-opened, then shut again, then it was masks and one-way systems. Luckily we have got a big garden so we had table service."

Despite lockdowns Chris and his pub pals raised more than £6,000, boosted by the £650 from the pound-a-swear fining system.

He said: "We we came back we got an income from the box. We are looking to reinstate the weekly meat raffle, quiz and karaoke nights.

"Last Christmas, I did Christmas dinner for a couple of the lads who had lost their wives and we had Christmas together. I also took Christmas lunch round to my neighbour.

US boxer Tim Witherspoon popped by to help with fundraising

"I'm one of the luckiest landlords around. When I had been here for ten years the regulars clubbed together and paid for me to go to Spain on a golfing holiday.

"We're in a position to put something back into the community and I am very proud."

The Ranelagh Arms in Ranelagh Road, Wellingborough
Chris hands over the money to Macmillan Cancer Support