A world-renowned rock star is fronting a campaign to re-open one of Huntingdonshire's most iconic music venues, which has been closed for three years due to the impact of the covid pandemic.

The Crown & Cushion, in Great Gransden, has welcomed famous artists from the worlds of rock, jazz and rhythm and blues over the last 20 years - including Don Airey, who plays keyboards for stadium-selling rock giants Deep Purple.

Mr Airey, who has lived in the village for more than 40 years, wants to see the venue reopen, much like the local community; a village survey found that more than 91 per cent of residents "agreed", or "strongly agreed" that the pub should reopen.

After 40 years owned by the same landlord, new owners moved into the pub in 2018 and the gigs stopped. 

Then, when the covid pandemic struck in 2020, the pub closed.

The Hunts Post: Don Airey of Deep Purple lives across the road from The Crown & Cushion in Great GransdenDon Airey of Deep Purple lives across the road from The Crown & Cushion in Great Gransden (Image: Robert Newbold)

The current landlords have not re-opened The Crown and Cushion, which is a Grade II listed building. It is also situated in an area of conservation and has 'asset of community value' status.

An action group of residents called Open the Crown & Cushion, which Don is part of, have appealed to Huntingdon District Council (HDC) to enforce planning law and return their community asset back to the villagers.

In a letter addressed to the action group, HDC's chief planning officer said: "This remains an active case and we will continue to engage with the occupiers of the pub."

A spokesperson for the action group said: "The Crown and Cushion is the last pub in the village, where historically, there have been as many as six pubs.

"This makes the survival of pub even more critical. Local residents and the action group continue to fight for the survival of their precious public house. 

"It is hoped, eventually, the pub will be able to open with a new landlord and change of ownership, or ownership may be assumed by the village community themselves."

Mr Airey, added: "There used to be regular Tuesday and Thursday music nights every week, the pub was packed and there were always well-known musicians, eager to play and create a very special atmosphere and great night out."