Owain Glyndwr rides again – and on St David’s Day the legendary Welsh hero has come to the rescue of the historic Corwen hotel which bears his name.
His visit in full armour and on his trusty steed will spark four days of events to sell the plan for locals to raise £500,000 to buy the historic Owain Glyndwr Hotel in the centre of the town and turn it into a community venture.
The Corwen Partnership aims to sell 2,500 £200 shares to purchase and refurbish the magnificent building which was already over 70 years old when Glyndwr raised a revolt against the occupying English in 1400.
They have launched a share issue today (Wednesday, March 1) to buy the Grade Two-listed hotel which stands on the A5 London Road opposite the statue of the original Owain Glyndwr whose manor house was five miles east at Glyndyfrdwy and who would have known Corwen well.
David Counsell, the Chair of the Partnership, said: “We need to raise £310,000 to buy the hotel with a further £200,000 to refurbish the building and run it as a community enterprise.
“Starting this week we need to sell that vision to the people of Corwen and hopefully all of the shares so we have put together a display and brochure which set out how taking the OG into community ownership can work.
“We hope people will make the time to pop down to the OG to find out for themselves what its all about and forms will of course be available at the launch for anyone wishing to purchase shares there and then.
“We are already really encouraged by the response since we announced our intention to raise a share issue to buy the hotel.
“We have sent out 2,000 flyers and our Facebook page has had over 100 new members in the last week.
“Everyone is asking about it and everyone is very positive. We’ve had a lot of interest from ex Corwen residents wanting to buy shares and that’s great because you don’t have to live in Corwen to get involved.
“Anyone can buy shares, individuals or on behalf of a business and groups can club together to buy a share if they wish. You can even buy shares on behalf of children and leave them to family or friends as a bequest.
“Although a small payment to shareholders may be possible in a few years time no-one is going to make a massive profit on their investment.
“It’s more an investment in the future of the pub and the town and about the warm feeling you get in your heart knowing that you are doing something positive for the community and helping to put Corwen back on the map.”
The Owain Glyndwr Community Hotel Ltd has been set up by the Partnership as a Community Benefit Society and is to issue half a million pounds in £200 shares, with a maximum stake holding of £50,000. One vote is allocated to each shareholder, irrespective of the number of shares.
They have until July 1 to raise the cash to buy the hotel from local man Ifor Sion who has kept the hotel, one of eight former coaching inns on the London to Holyhead Road, for the past 25 years and is offering it for a knockdown £300,000.
The four days of events start on St David’s Day when Owain Glyndwr will ride into the centre of Corwen at 4.45pm.
There will be St David’s Day decorations by pupils of Ysgol Caer Drewyn in the hotel with guided tours of the huge building, with its 15 en-suite bedrooms, function rooms, bars, kitchens and the cellars which date from 1329, on all four days.
Registration of interest forms and a prospectus for the sale will also be available and entertainment will start on St David’s Day evening when Cor Meibion Bro Glyndwr will perform in the hotel at 7pm.
The exhibitions and entertainment will continue in the hotel on Thursday and Friday from 4pm to 10pm and on Saturday from 12 noon to 10pm and are aimed at engaging with local people, businesses, sports clubs and organisations to promote the building and share ideas for its future.
The Partnership, which has set up the Owain Glyndwr Community Hotel Ltd as a Community Benefit Society, is being backed by Corwen Town Council, Cadwyn Clwyd and many local businesses and stakeholders in its aim to deliver the property into community ownership.
Members will even visit the homes of local people too elderly or infirm to make the trip to town to explain the project and how to support it.
David Counsell added: “The events are all aimed at engaging with local people, businesses, and organisations to promote the offer and to share with them our ideas and plans for the future OG.
“A fundamental element of our plan is to improve access by installing a lift to make more of the building, including the main function rooms, accessible to everyone.
“We also want people to understand that it’s not just about keeping the pub going. We want them to understand how we want the future OG to benefit the wider community.”