Villagers in Rogate are celebrating after their much- loved pub reopened more than a year after time was called at The White Horse.
It has been a roller coaster ride for campaigners, who have been fighting to get the pub open again since February last year.
Pub owner Harveys Brewery briefly reopened it last summer, with a temporary landlord, but closed it again on August 6.
Now there is a new licence holder behind the bar with the arrival of experienced landlady Wendy Humphrey.
She is managing the pub after Andrew Stanton signed a three-year lease with the brewery.
Wendy told the Observer: “When I walked in I thought ‘why is this pub closed’. There is a great atmosphere. Villagers really love the place and have been fantastic. I love the pub and I want to bring the whole community together and make it a hub at the heart of the village where people can meet and chat.”
She comes with a wealth of new ideas to offer something for all ages in Rogate.
She is planning a specially priced menu once a week so pensioners can bring in their families.
“I’d also like to do something for mothers and toddlers. We have just had a new coffee machine installed and we can offer all sorts of coffee for mums while they watch their children play in the recreation ground.”
She is planning disco and live entertainment evenings, as well as barbecues.
Supporting the annual fete, Wendy stopped food on Saturday so fete organisers could provide refreshments and in the evening she put on live entertainment.
“We have done a massive clean up in the pub and brought things up to date, including having new equipment in the kitchen. It’s got a nice feel to it and we are just taking each day as it comes, doing a little bit at a time,” Wendy told the Observer.
Food is back on the menu with meals at lunch time and in the evening and Wendy is also planning to offer full breakfasts from 8am.
Fiona Dix is a leading member of the ‘save our pub’ working party, which was working to buy the White Horse as a community pub if the brewery could not find a tenant.
She said: “We are delighted the pub has reopened and wish them every success. Our work was a very useful and interesting exercise should the village have the need to set up a community operation in the future.”