IT’S a pub at the heart of the community.
And the locals showed their love for The Fox & Hounds as they poured in on Saturday for its first day of trade after reopening as a community pub.
The country drinking hole, off School Lane, Denmead, opened its doors for the first time earlier this week since almost £500,000 was raised by determined locals to save the 150-year-old building from being turned into luxury housing.
Saturday was the first full day of trading and pubgoers were certainly impressed by what they saw.
Jackie and Gary Sprake decided to cycle down to the pub with their two daughters, Ella-May, 11, and Rosa-May, eight.
Mrs Sprake, 37, said: ‘It’s really nice. It’s the first time we have been in here.
‘The decoration is nice and it’s modern and clean.
‘It’s still got the original features.
‘It’s good the community has pulled together and put all the money in.’
Brian Sendall, 70, and his wife Jeanne, have lived in Denmead for more than 40 years and were keen to see the renovation.
Mr Sendall said: ‘It’s been closed for quite a while.
‘We have been following it in the media.
‘It’s very nice in there.’
Mrs Sendall added: ‘I hope it’s a success.’
Sue and Mike Greig, of School Lane, came along to the pub with their daughter Cathy Greig.
Sue said: ‘We did not come here much before.
‘It went a bit downhill. This is wonderful what they have done, involving a lot of hard work from the community.’
Cathy, 24, who lives in Portsmouth, added: ‘They have done an amazing job with the building.
‘It’s so nice to have it back.’
The pub is run by a community co-operative, headed by four directors.
The new landlords of the pub are Stephen Pratt and Angie Ryan.
Working their first full day behind the bar were Hailey Shearman, 33, and Tom Parsons, 22, with Jenny May, 16, doing the waitressing.
Tom said: ‘It’s exciting.
‘It’s nice meeting new people. It’s a bit of a community focal point.’
Jenny said: ‘It’s amazing how much work they have put into it.’