FOUR old schoolmates are setting about "slowly re-opening" a Taunton pub that suddenly closed last summer.

They took the first step by serving up a barbeque drive through at the Master Thatcher, on Severn Drive, last Friday and Saturday evenings.

It proved so successful that they will also be running the takeaway Chew Chew BBQ on Thursday as well.

And once the hospitality lockdown is over, Alistair Bain and Scott Rayner will take over managing the pub, with the help of Joe Marsden and Levi Lovell.

"The aim is to get the pub opened presently - slowly re-opening," said Joe.

"We're very excited about it.

"The Master Thatcher was a popular part of the community for a while and it was a shame it went.

"As it progresses, we'll start employing people.

"The feedback from last weekend was so positive."

The four are enforcing social distancing at the barbeques, which operate from 4pm to 8pm, and all the food must be eaten off the site.

There are plans for themed nights and takeaway deliveries and the community will be asked what they would like to see.

Somerset County Gazette:

Joe said: "When hospitality comes back, we'll open up. We want to make it as good or better as it was before."

The Master Thatcher closed suddenly last August, with a spokesman blaming "financial difficulties".

He told the Gazette: "It’s with a heavy heart that we have to announce that we are now permanently closed.

"We would like to thank all of our customers for their custom and support."

READ MORE: Master Thatcher pub in Taunton closes 'permanently'

He complained of "extortionate prices" charged by the brewery and high overheads from rents, rates, electricity and gas and insurance due to the building having a thatched roof.

He added: "We would thank every member of staff for their dedication and support and wish them all success in their future careers. A big thank you to David Rowe our manager for the last 20 months who has worked tirelessly to turn the business around."