VILLAGERS who pulled together to save their pub are celebrating after doors opened last week.

The New Inn, Halse, was saved by the community who pledged £330,000 to keep their local open.

READ MORE: Halse community pledges £330,000 to save pub 

A five-week £160,000 refurbishment took place and the first pints were pulled for a ‘locals only’ evening, the night before the official pub opening (which was on Friday, October 9).

Somerset County Gazette: Rev Helene Stainer , Rector of Halse, Milverton , Fitzhead and Ash Priors cuts the ribbon to open the New InnRev Helene Stainer , Rector of Halse, Milverton , Fitzhead and Ash Priors cuts the ribbon to open the New Inn

Mike Davis, vice chairman of the Halse and District Community Benefit Society, formed to legally run the project, said: “The New Inn for some time had not served the local community well. The owner had let the building run down and the tenant didn’t have a food offering that locals yearned for.

“With the country in lock down and the pub facing closure the only option to save the pub was to own it ourselves. It didn’t take much to get enthusiasm for the project to start and to be honest it kept growing.

“As it grew the people who thought it would not happen have joined in. The level of support and volunteer time given readily has been extraordinary.”

Somerset County Gazette: Mike DavisMike Davis

It has been just 17 weeks since the idea to save the pub was suggested – and the community have been praised for opening the venue again so quickly.

The 18th century pub’s renovation included new plumbing, boilers, windows, and electrics, the bar restocked, the kitchen has been upgraded, food brought back on the menu and the gardens cleared and tidied.

Stephen Hoole, chairman of the society, added: “Even at this early stage you can sense the community pulling together for a common cause - that despite all the restrictions has been the catalyst for social interaction. We have lots of plans for the future building on the strength of the community.”

Ellie Wakeman and Jake Wilde are the new management team at the pub.

Jake said: “I don’t think either of us have been anywhere where there are so many people so involved and enthusiastic about the project as here.”

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