The Comrades Club at Godmanchester re-opened on Saturday by taking the inside outside - laying fake grass in the car park and installing shelters to create a new beer garden area.

The new garden at the Comrades Club in Godmanchester.The new garden at the Comrades Club in Godmanchester.

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring long-seving members Alan Suter and Frank Marson to declare the facility open.

Deputy bar manager Adam Mayhew, who has been involved in fund-raising for the beer garden, said: “We had a really good weekend, a lot of new faces have signed up with memberships, with plenty of incredible feedback regarding the new outside area. All safety precautions have been adhered to, with most customers understanding the new queue and one way route throughout the club.”

He said they had more than trebled their original £1,000 target: “We’ve now raised over £3000 thanks to our unbelievable community spirit and also to a local company, which wants to remain anonymous which offered to double whatever we’d raised by opening time, 1pm Saturday.

“Every penny raised will now be put to use in the garden, with lighting and heating now on the shopping list.”

Members of the public stepped in and helped lay the astroturf at the club which should have celebrated its 100th anniversary during the lockdown.

Mr Mayhew said that although the social club was roomy in comparison to some pubs, they still had to find ways of achieving the social distancing they needed to meet regulations and so they decided to create the outdoor space for members to use.

“There will be further development so the car park can be used as an inside space,” Mr Mayhew said. “The more we can raise the better we can make the outside.”

He said the club had organised a series of events, including a golf day, to help raise the money to pay for the scheme, which would make re-opening more viable.

Mr Mayhew said: “The club is a non-profit social club and we have been looking forward to reopening which would have been difficult without using the car park as an extra area. People have put in a lot of work to make it happen.”

The club will be closing at 10pm and some of its normal facilities, including the snooker area, will be closed because they could not meet the social distancing standards.