A CROWDFUNDING scheme set up by the founder of Elite Bistros for the recently purchased White Horse pub in Churton has raised more than £140,000 in less than a day.

Gary Usher, the chef and restaurateur behind Chester's Sticky Walnut and Heswall's Burnt Truffle bistros, launched the Kickstarter at 9pm on Tuesday evening (November 1) with hopes to raise £200,000 to refurbish The White Horse, which was purchased last month. At time of writing, the scheme has 793 backers contributing £142,628, with a further five days left before its deadline.

Mr Usher says that the pub and the area are 'very familiar' to him and that he 'can't wait' for the establishment to be back open. He has spent the majority of his time since the sale on-site at the Chester Road venue documenting the job so far via his social media pages and keeping residents up to date with the ongoing work.

Outlining the next steps in the pub's refurbishment, Mr Usher writes: "We're putting the money into the kitchen and updating some of the furnishings to bring the pub back to life. We won't be tearing things out willy-nilly. We wanting to keep the character of the place and that cosy country pub feeling, whilst also making sure it works for service. Most of the work will be in the kitchen to get that ready for the team and making sure we can deliver an Elite Bistro experience.

"Our aim has always been to prepare and serve uncomplicated, unpretentious, delicious food by a team of hospitality professionals who love what they do. And that's true whether we're serving in one of our 6 bistros, in a tent at a wedding or by giving you the tools to cook an Elite Bistro feast at home.

"So expect the pub to feel much like our bistros - with a relaxed atmosphere and a warm welcome like you're one of our friends or family. We'll have 65 covers plus a bar and beer garden. Bring your dogs.

"A pub as beautiful & charming as The White Horse deserves to be buzzing with life & energy."

The chef has called the rapid response to the Kickstarter 'spectacular' with many residents expressing their support and excitement for the project as the total has risen throughout the evening and into this morning.

To view the Kickstarter, visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/elitebistroevents/the-white-horse-pub-plan-b.