A CHERISHED village pub has been saved thanks to a Chester publican.
The Bird in Hand pub in Guilden Sutton has reopened following its closure six months ago, providing villagers with a place to meet once more.
The pub, the only one in the village, was saved thanks to new landlord, Rob Lewis, who felt the people of Guilden Sutton were missing out on a much needed service.
The company which owns the pub, Enterprise Inns, had been unable to secure new tenants, despite efforts from villagers to form a co-operative and take over the running of the pub themselves.
Rob, 30, who has experience running several pubs, said: “I was contacted by Enterprise Inns and they offered me the chance to take over the running of the pub.
“It was in a sorry state and had just been left to rot over the past 12 months, but I felt it was worth investing time into the project.
“I was attracted to it because, after speaking to various people around the village, there was a real passion from villagers to see it reopened and for them to have a place to meet, drink and chat once again.”
A married father of two, Rob is no stranger to the trade, having run several pubs across the area and spent time as head chef at a number of restaurants, including The Brewery Tap in Chester.
“Despite there being a small population in the village, people really wanted to see the pub return and the response we have had since we reopened two weeks ago has been phenomenal,” said Rob.
“Some pubs do need to shut, as there is not enough demand for them but this is a pub that certainly needs to remain open.”
Guilden Sutton Parish Councillor and Bird In Hand regular, Mike Roberts, expressed his delight at the reopening of the pub, which is one of the oldest buildings in the village.
“It’s fantastic that the pub is back open and I have become a regular visitor,” said Mr Roberts.
“We were worried it could be turned into private property and we’re all relieved the situation is resolved and we have our pub back.
“It provides a focal point for the village and a chance for me to meet and engage with people who I may not have had the chance to meet otherwise.”
Guilden Sutton Parish Council chairman, Derek Hughes, added: “It is important for us to have the pub back up and running.
“The pub is situated at the heart of the village and has always been a place that not only those from Guilden Sutton can visit and meet, but also those from the wider community.
“It provides good food, good drink and good companionship which, when it wasn’t available, was a big loss to our village.”
See full story in the Chester Leader