Villagers to the rescue of Little Somerford pub

This Is Wiltshire: Paul Holmes and Emma Burton at the Somerford Arms Paul Holmes and Emma Burton at the Somerford Arms

Hundreds turned out to celebrate the opening of a Little Somerford pub which has been brought back to its former glory.

After standing empty for more than two years, the Somerford Arms, formerly known as the Saladin Inn, has reopened with a new look.

The pub was bought by five villagers more than a year ago following a lengthy campaign to prevent previous owners turning it into homes.

Peter Fitzcharles, who is one of the five new business partners, said: “It’s fantastic; the village really needs it.

“The post office shut down and the old pub shut down so it’s very important to the village to have a meeting place like this. We all felt quite bereaved without a pub so the Somerford Arms is fabulous.

“We now own the property and we have found landlords who we feel will make it work.It’s a new name and a new start.”

The Somerford Arms was officially opened by Trevor House, who spent his childhood at the Three Crowns, as it was then known, while his father, Reg, was the landlord from 1942 to 1954.

New landlords Emma Burton, who is formerly the landlord of the Priory Inn, Tetbury, and Paul Holmes, who was a chef in London, opened the doors on Saturday.

After an attempt by the community to buy the premises from former landlords Sue and David Robson fell through last year five residents became part of a consortium to buy the pub. They got the the price down from £325,000 to £175,000.

Diane Beverley, another of the five villagers, said: “The support we received throughout the renovation and especially for the opening was overwhelming. Increasingly small villages are losing their local amenities and, for us all, it was a wake-up call.”

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