THANKS to the passion and support of villagers a pub has been bought by the community just three months after it closed its doors.

The Bell Inn at Yarpole in north Herefordshire was bought last week for £275,000 thanks to 220 shareholders.

A group of committed locals set up the Mortimer Community Benefit Society to raise money by selling shares to make the purchase possible, after the pub was closed in May.

An auction was due to take place last Thursday but the society stepped in with an offer beforehand, which was accepted.

Mike Bending, treasurer of the society, said: “The only way we were able to do it was a number of members of the community very generously offered a short term interest-free loan.

“The response has been much more intense than I expected it to be. Generally with these sort of things the pub has closed two years ago, someone wants to build half a dozen houses on the site of the pub.

“People get together and have maybe a year or so to raise the money to save it. We had about a month and a deadline as well.”

They will take possession of the pub on September 13 and hope to have it up and running the following month.

The pub will serve food and the society has other ideas for the future of the community pub.

Society members have interviewed a number of prospective tenants who will run the pub.

Mr Bending said: “The only way going forward that the pub is going to work and be successful and make a profit is if we attract people from outside the village. We want it to be a destination pub rather than just a pub.”

The society still needs shareholders to pledge their support for the refurbishment and day-to-day running costs.

Mr Bending added: “So far we have had 220 shareholders. There was one person in particular, who strangely enough lives in Hereford, who donated a considerable sum to the share fund.

“He was born in Yarpole. That was what cemented my decision about 'let’s go for it'. It was the amount of emotion and commitment to keep the pub open.”

To add your support to the society go to