A NORTH Shropshire community which rallied together to buy a pub which closed have celebrated seeing the first pint poured at the newly-reopened boozer.

The Horse & Jockey, in Northwood, was declared officially open by North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan who poured the bar’s first pint in commemoration.

The momentous pint of pale ale marks the end of the community group’s journey to reopening the pub following months of fundraising, a Government grant and a local businessman’s contribution.

Louise Paton, speaking on behalf of the group that raised the money needed to buy back the pub, said it will be at the heart of the Northwood community.


She said: “We’re so proud – I can’t believe this moment has come.

“It’s incredible and for a community of 43 houses to have bought and reopened a pub for hopefully another 250 years is amazing.

“I can’t say how proud I am.

“Everybody put in the hours, traipsing around the pavements, putting in the leaflets, all the ladies on Facebook and all sorts of ways to fundraise and to fill in the Government forms – we’ve had so much help.

“Apart from the Methodist church, we’ve got no other community assets here in the village.

“We have an amazing relationship with them and saving that is next on the list if we can.

“But this isn’t just a pub, it’s a community hub as it was back in the 19th century when it was a shoe-smiths, a post office, a tailors and a grocer’s, as well as being a licenced premises.

Whitchurch Herald: Sapphire Everson, Helen Morgan MP and Michael McAllister with members of the Horse & Jockey community group. Sapphire Everson, Helen Morgan MP and Michael McAllister with members of the Horse & Jockey community group. (Image: Newsquest.)

“I think modern pubs, particularly in villages, are going revert back to that model because it’s so rural, with transportation few and far between, it will be a lifeline for people who might be isolated.”

Mrs Morgan said she was delighted to be asked to perform the pouring of the ceremonial first pint and with more community-owned pubs on the rise, she’s hoping to do more.

And she was full of praise for the group for completing the work to take the pub back in an area she knows very well.

She said: “I’ve poured pints in Ash Magna and others and it’s great to see.

“When I was campaigning to be a councillor, this was on my way to the Meres but more importantly, when communities like this lose their pubs, the lose their soul.

“I wanted people here to keep their pub – it’s full and it’s a really important of their community and I will support anyone who wants to keep their pub open.

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“It helps people who are isolated – not everyone can drive into Wem and we want to see people enjoying something in their community.

“Isolation, particularly after Covid, is a big thing and if we can get people together in their own village, then that’s a great thing to do.

“They’re a great example of taking back ownership of where they live and because it’s not-for-profit, it’s a sense of having something they own.”