CONTRACTS have now been exchanged and locals are getting ready to open the doors of their favourite pub.
It will be all hands to the pump on Saturday as dozens of people are expected at a huge clean-up at the Fox and Hounds in Denmead.
In one of the first moves of its kind in the area, campaigners raised more than £300,000 to buy the 140-year-old building to stop it being bulldozed for housing.
And now the wider community can invest money and buy shares in the Fox and Hounds Community Co-operative to pay for its renovation.
Rob Stark, director of the co-operative, said that, as well as villagers, people with links to Denmead from as far away as Australia, USA and Canada have pledged financial support.
And community finance consultants SIB and Empower have also offered financial and professional support.
Rob added: ‘The initial response has been tremendous.
‘Many local companies, including our local breweries, are helping the community to realise its ambition of reopening the Fox and Hounds in the summer as a quintessential English country pub.
‘We will serve local ales and good food and the evidence of local support testifies to the fact that it will again become a very popular social amenity.’
Even the local Co-op store has donated £1,000 towards the pub.
But before anything happens, the inside needs to be completely cleared and to do that the co-operative needs more people power.
Rob said: ‘Everybody who has asked if they can help in any way will be invited to come along and dig, scrape, cut, carry, sweep, watch or make and serve tea.
‘Cakes and biscuits are welcome! Please bring your own cup.’
The first £300,000 raised will pay back that amount borrowed to fund the purchase of the building.
A further £250,000 is needed for refurbishment.
It is important to act now if you would like to buy a share in the pub. Shareholder should receive up to three per cent interest on their investment.
They will also receive voting rights at general meetings, as well as other benefits. The share offer is being run by local community finance organisation Parity Trust, based in Portsmouth.
For more information about the share offer go to paritytrust.org.uk
· Also read: Co-operative can inspire others to save their pubs