This historical St Ives pub was given a psychedelic makeover as part of a fundraising appeal to save it from closure – or was it?

This historical St Ives pub was given a psychedelic makeover as part of a fundraising appeal to save it from closure – or was it?

There was a social media stir when pictures of Grade-II listed The Royal Oak appeared online after the exterior had reportedly been given a new mural.

But punter Antony Meehan revealed that he had in fact mocked the image in Photoshop to raise support for owners David and Lindsey Sanderson.

It comes as brewery giant Greene King is continuing to charge rent and service charges at the pub in Crown Street, although the brewery has told The Hunts Post this has now been deferred while pubs are closed.

It is feared that the “crippling” charges during lockdown may lead to its permanent closure, but Greene King has said in response it is speaking to all its tenants, including The Royal Oak, about what financial support can be offered.

Mr Meehan said: “The Royal Oak is one of the oldest pubs in the area.

“It is a traditional local, and is dearly loved by its loyal customers.

“It is a lifeline for many in the community, and Dave and Lindsey have worked tirelessly for years against the odds of continual rent rises and lack of investment to maintain the building and interior. Rent and service charges during this time are crippling and may force the permanent closure of the Oak.”

The launch of Mr Meehan’s fundraising appeal grabbed the attention of residents on the town’s community Facebook group.

He posted the picture of its “makeover” with the comment “how on earth are they allowed to get away with this?”

He claimed it had been “painted during the night completely unbeknown to David and Lindsay”.

The couple, who are isolating with their four children, played along and said they “hadn’t seen the front of the building for weeks due to using the rear exit”.

Mr Meehan continued: “I have launched a JustGiving Crowdfunding campaign to help keep the pub open post-lockdown.

“Fifty per cent of any donations made will be put behind the bar for you on a tab, and should the pub not reopen 100 per cent will be refunded on request.”

A Greene King spokesperson said: “By deferring rent from the outset while pubs remain closed, we removed any immediate cash flow concerns for our leased and tenanted partners and have since introduced further support for them through this difficult time. We have worked on long-term proposals that can run alongside government schemes and have written to all our tied pub partners to discuss their circumstances and provide tailored support on rent for those who have been impacted most by this crisis. We have also said we will be replacing all our partners’ out-of-date and unopened beer kegs and casks when pubs can reopen. As an employer of 38,000 people who rely on us for their livelihoods we are taking financially responsible decisions. There isn’t a one size fits all solution and the support plan we’ve communicated to our leased and tenanted partners is fair, bespoke and aims to ensure that as many of our partners as possible are able to emerge from this crisis in a strong position, as we all look to recover our businesses together.”

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The Royal Oak has also opened a virtual pub on Facebook, where they plan to host and stream events and raffles.

For more information contact Mr Meehan at: or 07800 991 204.