THE FUTURE of a pub in rural Herefordshire hangs in the balance just eight months it reopened.

The Bridge Inn, Kentchurch, was hit badly in October’s floods.

After an extensive refurbishment, it officially opened in February to a warm welcome and support from the local community. It was support that proved invaluable when the river Monnow burst its banks.

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The river flooded the beer garden, terrace and kitchen at the pub, though the restaurant and bar area were unaffected.

Landlord Williams Chambers, who runs the pub with his wife Kasia, said: “As a newcomer to the area I did not foresee the floods.

“With a month’s rain in a single night, the fields that were so saturated from a wet month simply couldn’t take the deluge of water.”

Mr Chambers watched on as the water trickled in to the kitchen area at midday on Saturday, October 26. He initially keept it at bay with brooms and sand bags.

At 1pm the water burst through the defences that had been put in place. The couple are now working against the clock and finances to keep the pub running, serving drinks and using the outside barbecue and pizza oven to provide some hot food while they source equipment and restore the kitchen.

Mr Chambers said if the pub is not fully functioning in the next fortnight as they hope, the business will be under very real threat of closure.

The community has rallied round the Bridge, with many locals rolling up their sleeves and helping with the huge clean-up.

It is hoped that the pub will be able to honour Christmas party bookings this weekend.

The couple served a roast dinner buffet for the 60 people who helped with the clean-up.

The owner of the building, Jan Lucas-Scudamore, said nature had been cruel. “It’s really tough that they’ve just got going and then this happened,” she added.