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Restaurant fan 'overwhelmed' by support for eateries in Bury St Edmunds

A concerned resident says he has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support for restaurants and takeaways during the pandemic - after he set up a support page.

In March last year, Nigel Birrell was having coffee with Charlie Athorne who runs No 5 cafe on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds.

The country was just about to go into its first lockdown and he feared for all the town’s eateries.

Nigel Birrell
Nigel Birrell

In response, he set up a Facebook page called ‘Eat & Drink in your Bury St Edmunds’ where people could show their support.

Since then the web page has surpassed 10,000 members - and is still growing.

“At the start of lockdown last year, I said to Charlie, this is going to be horrific for the restaurant trade, and tried to think of ways I could help," said Nigel, who runs Nigel Birrell Fleet Management.

“I am not an expert on Facebook by any means but started the page nonetheless as a place where restaurants could say what they were up to.

"The response has been overwhelming. It’s got so busy my daughter Sam and and son-in-law David are now doing the admin.

“All sorts of people have popped up from cake makers to major restaurants and members also swap recommendations.

A real community has grown up around it and it just really goes to show how much people value our food and drink suppliers in Bury St Edmunds, the foodie capital of Suffolk.

The initiative has been praised by Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District (BID).

On February 14, the organisation will launch its Love Local (#LoveLocal) campaign with the help of the Royal Family’s ‘unofficial’ town crier.

The launch will coincide with Love Local Day (#LoveLocalDay), which encourages people to support shops and businesses around the country in a time of social and economic crisis.

Mike Kirkham, BID business support and marketing officer, said: “The town needs all the support it can get at the moment and what Nigel has done is fantastic.

We are hoping people will really get behind Love Local Day this year and our Love Local campaign by getting on social media and likewise, sharing their love for the town on Valentine’s Day, and beyond.

You can visit Nigel's page, here

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