Villagers who have taken over their local pub have been awarded a sizeable grant to realise their dream of re-opening it under community control.
The Thorold Arms has traded since 1740, but residents feared it could become housing after the old owners decided to give it up.
The pub closed in January last year and around 125 local investors came forward, raising £185,000 to buy it.
Since then, Keith Elms, a director of the project, said the pub has been slowly taking shape, with local shareholders and friends volunteering to take down walls and clear rubble.
Mr Elms said: “The volunteers deserve praise for their loyalty, time and energy in the ongoing refurbishment of this lovely old 18th century building.”
TAPco, the business name for the shareholders’ ownership of The Thorold Arms, has just been awarded a £39,000 Leadership Grant, to aid the continuing work and boost the rural economy. The paperwork has caused a short delay to renovations, but Keith said the beer cellar is now back to fully working order, having been cleaned and repainted. Local builders are about to demolish and rebuild the toilets and porch, while craftsmen are finishing the roof.
Keith said: “We have now been fortunate to appoint our new tenants after interviewing a strong shortlist. There was an excellent response to our tenancy appeal, and we are delighted to announce that we have invited a husband and wife to join us as tenants. The names will be announced in the near future.”
They hope to be opening the regenerated pub in all its glory by the summer.