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News and Stories

Community minded pub supports local charity Heartbeat

(Left to Right: Sara Craigen, Heartbeat's Community Fundraising and Marketing Manager, Tanya Harder, and Lorna Perkins, Manager of The Elephant and Castle)

One of Totton’s oldest pubs, the Elephant & Castle offers more than just the usual. The historic pub prides itself on its community minded approach, and wanting to make a difference.

Lorna and her husband Paul Perkins are the driving forces behind the much loved pub, with Lorna holding the role of general manager and on her way to becoming the Landlady, as she prepares for her exams this November.

Lorna’s journey to publican began with a desire to help her community, and she believes that a pub is more than just a place to grab a drink and get a bite to eat, though of course they do that too.

Lorna said: “It’s about fostering community, offering a listening ear, and being a friendly face for those who may not get that support elsewhere.”

It’s this spirit of compassion that led Lorna and her dedicated team, including assistant manager Stephanie Clark, to choose Heartbeat as their charity of the year.

Southampton based Heartbeat, is a well-established charity that helps newborns, children and adults diagnosed with congenital and cardiovascular diseases through supporting the work of the Wessex Cardiac Unit based at University Hospital Southampton.

Heartbeat fundraise to provide specialised equipment, services and facilities to help patients and their relatives through their cardiac journey, as well as offering the loved ones of patients undergoing treatment at the University Hospital Southampton somewhere to stay in the 25 bedroom Rotary Heartbeat House.

Lorna said: “When we started to talk about a chosen charity, Heartbeat came to mind as so many of us here at the pub have known someone or have had a relative that has had a heart related problem. It’s about raising awareness. We’re all huge supporters of Heartbeat; myself, Paul and Vicky Ackrill help with most of our fundraising projects. We have a dedicated stand where we share information about Heartbeat’s latest projects.”

It’s a cause especially close to Lorna, after she lost her mother to heart failure in November.

Lorna and her team have thrown themselves into fundraising and raising awareness for Heartbeat. The pub hosts various events, including a popular Jenga League which has been put together by Sara Craigen, comedy evenings and race nights. All of which contribute to their fundraising efforts. However, their commitment goes beyond fundraising.

Their hope is that by sharing this knowledge, the pub’s patrons might be inspired to follow Heartbeat on social media, engage with posts, which all helps raise awareness to the cause.

The funds raised from the Elephant & castle will be going specifically to another of Heartbeat’s funded projects- the innovative 3D Heart campaign, which is revolutionising the approach of surgeons to invasive cardiac diagnostic testing.

Costing £600 per heart, surgeons can utilise specialist cardiac modelling software to easily scan the patient’s heart using non-invasive methods such as a CT scan or an MRI. This creates a detailed blueprint of the heart, which can then be sent to a 3D printer. The printer will produce an identical plastic model of the heart, offering an in-depth look at the organ and any defects it may have.

The team at the pub are working hard to reach its target of £5,000 for the year.

Lorna said: “We’re doing our best. The community is at the heart of everything we do and if, along with every pint we pour we can chat about Heartbeat and that turns into gestures of kindness or donations then it all contributes to saving lives and building a stronger, healthier community. And that’s all we want to do.”

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