WHEN landlady Elaine Fields sent a cheeky Facebook message asking villagers to help refurbish her new pub she was hoping a few would turn up.
So the 52-year-old was left stunned when dozens arrived with tools, mops and buckets, ready to get to work.
Elaine had spotted the potential of The Farmer Inn, in Catherington, and decided to go for it when the lease came up for sale.
She wanted to give it a major revamp in just 72 hours and fortunately the Lord Kitchener-style message – ‘Your local pub needs you’ – was a success.
Elaine, who will be running the pub with her son and daughter James and Louisa, and her daughter-in-law Alice Philpott, said: ‘The response to our plea was simply amazing, I was absolutely
‘There were people there that I didn’t even know and they were the most amazing people you could imagine – I was bowled over.
‘Most of the people who turned up said in all the years they’d lived here they’d never set foot in the pub.
‘It was dark and dingy and not very welcoming to women because it was run like a town pub with a pool table and a juke box.
‘So when people realised it was going to change they wanted to be part of it and get it back to being the hub of the community.
‘I’ve lived half a mile away from the pub in Horndean for 20 years and I’ve always wanted a local like this.’
In just three days the gang, led by a carpenter and a painter and decorator employed by Ms Fields, painted the toilets, the wooden panels, stripped out the benches, put up hanging baskets, potted garden plants, stripped, sanded and varnished the floor and rearranged the bar.
The opening night, on September 16, was jam packed.
Everyone who helped out was given a meal for two at the pub for each day they worked.
Ms Fields said: ‘It was pure community sprit and it was so wonderful to see.
‘We’ve been doing well ever since, with people enjoying the fabulous views. We’re a real country pub.’