Three cheers for vil­lagers as they club to­gether to re­open their last lo­cal pub

South Wales Echo - - NEWS - ABBY BOLTER Re­porter abby.bolter@waleson­line.co.uk

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

ROB BROWNE

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

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