VILLAGE pub-goers celebrated as a community pub opened its doors for the first time.

Thanks to the support of 320 shareholders, and the community raising more than £350,000, the King's Head, Pebmarsh, reopened last weekend under the ownership of The Friends of the King's Head.

The popular pub was put up for sale by the owners who retired in September 2016, meaning the pub ceased trading.

Within just three months, the local community had pledged £275,000 to turn The Kings Head into a community-owned pub.

Community ownership will secure the long term future of the pub as a key community asset for Pebmarsh, and stave off any threat of closure in the future.

Stuart and Debbie Fraser, who also run the Thatcher's Arms in Mount Bures, have taken over as landlords.

Stuart said: “We are over the moon. It has been a hard weekend and they have drunk most of our beer but it was a fantastic turnout.

“John Flack and the rest of the Friends of the Kings Head have done amazingly, they have all been really driven from the start.

“The pub looks amazing both inside and out, and we are raring to go now August bank holiday had previously been bookmarked for a reopening event but the community was dealt a huge blow, as Braintree Council halted renovations, stating the Grade II listed building needed planning permission which the Friends had been led to believe was unnecessary.

But with renovations complete, and a successful first weekend behind them, the pub is now looking ahead to its 'grand opening bash' on November 11.

Stuart added: "It will be a big Pebmarsh party.

"The best thing about the pub is that it will be community led and the village is committed to supporting the pub."