VILLAGERS who raised £400,000 to save their pub from closure have been recognised by the Campaign For Real Ale.

The 19th Century Three Horseshoes, in Helions Bumpstead, shut in May 2014.

But campaigners from the village of under 500 people launched a survey which revealed overwhelming support for the Three Horseshoes to be restored as a pub.

The Helions Bumpstead Community Benefit Society was set up with an ambitious fundraising target of £400,000 to buy the pub for the community.

In March 2019 the pub successfully came into community ownership, and major refurbishment work took place both inside and outside the building.

During the refurbishment, regular pub nights and other events for the village were held.

Hopes to reopen the Three Horseshoes in the spring of 2020 were dashed due to the Covid pandemic, so a grocery store was set up to offer basic supplies in the village as well as off-sales of real ale at weekends.

When Covid restrictions were fully lifted in July 2021, the pub started opening for weekend events while the search for tenants continued, with a full reopening finally taking place in December last year.

The pub has now been named runner-up in CAMRA’s Pub Saving Award.

Tenants Rob and Rhanny Carroll said: “Since reopening, the pub has traded very successfully and always has three real ales, usually including at least one ‘LocAle’, and a growing reputation for its food.

“It has also been recognised by CAMRA North West Essex with a place in the 2023 Good Beer Guide, which is a real honour.”

Community Benefit Society chairman Richard Russell said: “This is exactly what we had in mind from the outset - a traditional country pub in the heart of the village which ticks all the boxes, saved for posterity thanks to community ownership.

“Everybody in the village and surrounding area is delighted. This award is great news for us all and a fantastic reflection on Rob and Rhanny’s success.”

Ian Fitzhenry, chair of CAMRA’s North West Essex branch added: "I am delighted that the efforts of the villagers of Helions Bumpstead have been recognised with this prestigious award.”