A good old fashioned knees-up marked success for campaigners who pulled together to save their community pub.
People living in Slaley in Northumberland have been rallying around to keep the much-loved Rose and Crown watering hole open.
They set about plans to buy the pub themselves and formed Slaley Community Assets Ltd (SCAL), creating shareholders who invested around £500 each.
The group managed to collect more than £200,000 in less than three months and the cash will be used to secure a mortgage towards the final £250,000 purchase price.
SCAL, which won the support of some 85 investors, is now finalising a deal with brewery Marston’s and is expected to take possession of the pub within weeks.
And this week many of those involved got together to toast their success and look ahead to the future.
Margaret Weatherley, a director of SCAL, said: “The pub was very, very busy. It was just like old times, it was great. Everybody has been supportive in some way.
“We have had people that have invested and then we have had people who have been supportive in other ways.
“The celebration was just a really, really good night. We had some music on and everyone had a good time.
“We just want to thank everybody for their support. Without them we could not have made this happen.
“It will be good for the village and it will keep the pub here for the community in the future.”
The inn dates back to the 17th Century and has been at the heart of village life for many years.
Owner Marston’s agreed to sell the building and Slaley Community Trust lodged an application to make it a community asset.
Villagers are hoping the pub will become a focal point for activities and be used as a meeting place for clubs and societies.
Eileen Tuohy, 50, who has lived in Slaley for the last three years, added: “I just think the whole thing is fantastic.
“The amount of support and enthusiasm we have had to make this happen has been absolutely brilliant. A small number of people set out with a view that we were going to make it happen and to watch that grow was great.
“We are now on track and we are really pleased.”
For more information about the plan visit www.slaleyroseandcrown.co.uk or ring David Allsop on 01434 673686.