Pub campaigners rewarded for saving historic inn from closure
Residents raised £600,000 to buy the pub with the help of 200 investors.
Campaigners who saved a 150-year-old village pub from closure have won an award for their efforts.
The Save the Packhorse Project was set up six years ago by residents in South Stoke, Bath, after their local was sold to new owners, with plans to convert it into a house and office.
They started a petition, signed by 1,500 people, and succeeded in adding the Packhorse Inn to the local council’s Asset of Community Value list.
A fundraising campaign was launched to buy the pub, which led to £600,000 being raised with the help of 200 investors.
The inn is now owned by 430 shareholders who reopened it as a community pub earlier this year following renovations, during which a 17th century fireplace was discovered.
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) announced it had given its Pub Saving Award to the campaign.
Dom Moorhouse, managing director of the Packhorse Community Pub, said: “It’s really a testament to our visionary, generous shareholders and the hundreds of volunteers who have helped make the project a reality.
“It’s really hard work, doing what we’ve done, and it’s so rewarding for everyone involved to not only have a great community asset but also be recognised for our achievement as a team.”
Paul Ainsworth, who organises the award, said: “The Packhorse Inn was unanimously selected by our judges as the winner. I have followed their story closely and with interest – it really is inspirational stuff. I hope that success stories such as this of the Packhorse Community Pub encourage other communities to fight for their local pub.
“The Packhorse has served the village of South Stoke for centuries – to have lost it would have been devastating, and I am delighted that the team have been rewarded for their unyielding persistence and effort.”
The runner-up in the competition was the Volunteer Pub in Bexleyheath, which closed in 2017 after 152 years of service as a public house and was saved by local campaigners.