Three cheers for villagers as they club together to reopen their last local pub
A VILLAGE is set to reopen its last remaining pub after locals raised £72,000 in just two weeks to buy it.
Volunteers have now begun work on the 150-year-old Three Horse Shoes and hope to be pulling pints for customers within months.
They have spent thousands of pounds of their own money on securing the freehold and are now giving up their time to refurbish the building in Cefn Cribwr, near Bridgend.
Former regular Geraint Mason, who organised the purchase, said the 30-strong group – which includes people in their 30s to their 70s – saved the pub a day before it was due to be auctioned off.
He had rallied support for the purchase and asked for pledges via Facebook and word and mouth.
“It was people coming up in the street, emailing and texting, people telling other people who were telling us,” he said.
“The average pledge was about £3,000 and a couple of £5,000. As a couple, we have put in £10,000.
“I don’t think anyone has gone into it thinking they are going to make a fortune. The general thinking is that they won’t make any money for the foreseeable future. People are just doing it to get the pub back, not for any financial gain.
“Since the pubs have closed people have definitely missed them.
“It is a community where everybody knows everybody and it would be great to get that back again.”
The Three Horse Shoes closed its doors five years ago and 12 months ago Cefn Cribwr also lost the Farmer’s Arms.
“I heard about the Three Horse Shoes going back up for auction,” said Geraint, 45, a self-employed building services engineer.
“I thought it’s the only opportunity we are ever going to get to get a pub back on Cefn Cribwr.
“We have two clubs and they are very good, but they are clubs and since we have gone from two pubs to none, surely there’s going to be enough of a market to support one, especially if we do it better and do it as a community group.”
His wife Fay, 48, added: “Everyone in the group feels passionately about getting people back out and socialising in their community pub.”
The project is already pulling people together as volunteers including builders and plasterers are preparing the building, which Geraint believes has not had any serious investment for 40 or 50 years.
Local tradespeople and suppliers have also been offering discounted goods and free labour, while others are giving time to clean up and make tea.
The group, which has formed a limited company, hopes to reopen it as a cafe and pub serving speciality ales and gins within a few months.
In the future they hope to serve snacks before reopening the kitchen fully and serving meals. They would also like to have a children’s play area. Fay said the downstairs would be opened first and the upstairs developed later on.
But Geraint said around half of the money for the refurbishment still needs to be raised so they are selling horse shoes and commemorative plaques for £50 each, which will be displayed prominently in the pub once it opens.
“We would like to think we’ll be open in six months’ time, but watch this space,” he said.
For details on the plaques go to the Three Horse Shoes Community Pub page on Facebook
Geraint Mason, a former regular at The Three Horse Shoes, Cefn Cribwr, which was up for sale, organised a buyout of the pub with other locals
The Three Horse Shoes and below, Geraint with other members of the buyout group