MORE than £100,00 has been raised by villagers mounting a campaign to save their pub and corner shop.

A total of 117 people have so far chipped in varying amounts for shares in the Heart Of The Village (HOTV) initiative in Stoke St Gregory.

The response has been described as "encouraging", but organisers are hoping to at least double the amount so far pledged.

To that end, they have extended from the end of September the deadline for people to buy shares.

They say they need between £200,000 and £500,000 to buy the Royal Oak and the contents and goodwill of the Village Stores.

Nick Sloan, one of the organisers, said: "This is a very heartening start, but we still have some way to go.

"We need both to raise more money and to extend the membership so that HOTV becomes more representative of the whole village.

"Everyone needs to be fully aware that, whatever happens, the shop and the Oak under current ownership are on borrowed time, and unless we are able to buy the Oak and transfer the shop into it - which makes much better economic sense than buying the shop - the village will lose these services and become a diminished place."

To take part, people need to buy at least four £25 shares up to a maximum of £20,000 worth.

The HOTV plan involves buying the three-storey pub for £345,000 and using the premises for a pub and shop downstairs run by paid managers with volunteer staff.

Mr Sloan added: "When we get HOTV going in earnest, there are so many benefits besides the preservation of the current services that future generations in Stoke St Gregory will thank us all for our vision.

"We are planning to energise the Oak with all sorts of new ideas, from a café with happy hour at school drop-off time, to a much enhanced pub garden.

"Because it will be a community business, everyone will have a say in how it is run and what is provided in the shop.

"We set a time limit on the share offer originally, to encourage people to get a move on, but we are extending this by popular demand to give more people the opportunity to get involved."

Share application forms are available at or at the Village Stores.

Stoke St Gregory has a second pub, the Rose and Crown, which has planning permission to be converted into housing, but owner Stephen Browning has pledged to remain open until a buyer has been found.