Villagers rally round to refurbish popular pub ahead of reopening
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Locals in the village of Great Finborough have rallied round to lend their support to help revamp a community pub in time for its reopening.
The Chestnut Horse was fully booked when it opened its doors for the first time since the lockdown on Friday, after a new extension was built to provide extra room for diners.
Pub landlady, Sharon Shipp, said people from the village have been helping her get the place ready for its reopening.
She said: “Two men from the village have painted inside and out, a local artist has designed and painted a beautiful new pub sign, a retired couple stripped down and refurbished all the outdoor tables and seating, and my new neighbour sourced the materials that I used to re-cover the seating inside.
“Everyone’s been so supportive and people are excited to see what we’ve done.
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"There’s such a great community feeling in the village, and lots of people who live here have helped me get The Chestnut Horse ready for reopening."
Pub company Hawthorn, who own the site, have invested £107,000 in an extension at the rear of the Grade II listed building, providing seating for up to 30 diners in the current climate.
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Sharon, who runs the pub with her son Robert and daughter-in-law Clare, will reintroduce food when pubs are allowed to reopen fully on May 17 and in June live weekend entertainment will return.
Acts are already booked through to December.
During last year’s first lockdown, Sharon ran the pub as a village shop, providing locals with a selection of fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs and essentials; and has more recently run a takeaway food service.
But Sharon was hesitant to reopen her doors on April 12, when outdoor dining became allowed, as she was concerned it could "make or break her" business.
At the time, she described the idea of outside dining only as taking a child to a sweetshop but not letting them have any sweets, adding all industries should be treated the same.
Andrew Parker, Hawthorn director of leased and tenanted operations, said: “Sharon is a model pub partner when it comes to engaging with the local community and how to immerse yourself in it, and is always putting others first.
"This is Sharon’s second spell at The Chestnut Horse, having first run it from 2004 to 2007, and Hawthorn was delighted to support her request for more dining space, which, once pubs are able to fully reopen, next month, will help make this popular community pub into an even more successful business.”