A village pub has today officially reopened for the first time after being saved by the community.
The Half Moon Inn, in Balcombe, was put up for sale by Enterprise Inns in April 2016 before a group of residents decided to raise the money required to purchase the building.
In January this year, the Balcombe Community Pub Limited – set up to raise the money – completed the purchase of the building after raising more than £300,000.
Today, the pub reopened under the tenency of Nick and Di Madgett.
Nick, 58, said: “I originally come from Oxted and told myself I would never get involve with pubs.
“Eventually I was talked around to the idea and now I wish I had got involved years ago.
“The idea of this pub is to keep everything local. “It was the people of Balcombe who kept this place alive so and we are looking to serve local beers, as well as local meat and vegetable from the local farmers.
“We have a professional chef on board who has experience in all types of food types.”
The repurchasing of the pub was made possible by 324 investors who each donated between £250 and £15,000 of the £300,000 required.
For secretary of the Balcome Community Pub Limited Rodney Saunders, Friday was a special day. He added: “Many people told me it wouldn’t be possible but we’ve proved them wrong. “We spoke with 25 to 30 potential publicans but no one filled us with the same excitement as Nick. “We are confident he is going to do a fantastic job here.”