Villagers in Toppesfield have more than one reason to raise a glass this Christmas after securing the purchase of their only local pub.
The Green Man, which was owned by Admiral Taverns, has been bought by Toppesfield Community Pub Ltd (TCP Ltd) after being on the market for years.
Determined villagers formed the company, which is based on the Industrial & Provident Society model, and raised more than £150,0000 through a share subscription.
Additional capital came through a mortgage and a substantial donation from a charity with local connections.
Alan Collard, chairman of the TCP committee, said: “This is an incredible achievement.
“To secure the pub’s future, when so many pubs around our way are closing down, is a fantastic boost for the community.
“The support and encouragement has been overwhelming and people have voted with their wallets to preserve our local.
“Christmas certainly has come early and we’ll be raising a glass to each other to celebrate.”
Work to buy the pub started in March, with a number of meetings held to gauge interest from the community as whether the purchase was viable.
The Industrial & Provident model was chosen as the best way of extending ownership to as many people as possible.
More than 150 residents and friends have bought shares in TCP Ltd, which will own the freehold of the pub, while Tony Downs is its landlord.
TCP Ltd was advised by the Plunkett Foundation, a national organisation supporting rural community enterprises.
Triodos Bank, an ethical lender, provided the commercial mortgage, and local solicitors Holmes & Ellis did the legal work.
Peter Couchman, chief executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “An estimated four rural pubs close every week, but community ownership is a viable and successful solution to this problem.”