VILLAGERS who saved their pub have celebrated with a grand re-opening.

The Dog Inn at Belthorn was packed out as it was reopened by special guest Jim Fletcher and a firework display last Friday.


The pub was saved after a cooperative group of residents raised £180,000 through a share issue.

Mr Fletcher, 82, who was awarded a British Empire Medal after raising thousands for local charities, cut a ribbon and made a speech.

Jean Bain, a director and spokesperson for the Dog Inn, said: “It was an incredible night and people really enjoyed it.

“Everybody has been saying it is fantastic what has been done.”

The pub had looked set to be re-developed after it closed and was sold in November last year (2014) to Ribble Valley Luxury Homes Ltd.

Kathryn Sharp, a community nurse, helped to form the Save the Dog Inn Community Action Group.

The group approached the company on behalf of the village community and they agreed to sell the pub back.

The Dog Inn (Belthorn) Ltd was formed and an £180,000 share offer launched in early April enabled the pub to be bought by the community.

The pub was purchased on September 2 this year and refurbished by volunteers.

It is the first community-owned public free house in Lancashire and also the first pub under Hyndburn Borough Council to be awarded an Asset of Community Value.

It is hoped to also open a village shop and develop community gardens on land behind the pub.

Committee chairman, Dave Hollings, who is also director of Co-operative and Mutual Solutions Ltd, whose company provided advice to the group during the process of getting the pub reopened, described the opening night as “brilliant”.

He said: “The pub was really busy. We’ve not had a pub since November 2014.

“It has brought the community together.”