Oxfordshire village celebrates opening new co-operative pub

Villagers in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, have celebrated the takeover of their last remaining village pub as a co-operative, the 18th in the UK.

Villagers in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, have celebrated the takeover of their last remaining village pub as a co-operative, the 18th in the UK.

Around 300 residents, nearly half the village population, joined local celebrity chef Raymond Blanc to mark the occasion.

The Bull in Great Milton was put up for sale by Greene King at the end of last year. Within days a committee was formed to save the pub for the village.

The Great Milton Community Pub Limited (GMCP) was created as an Industrial and Provident Society to save the 17th century thatched pub, with support and a grant from the Plunkett Foundation, a charitable organisation that helps communities and local projects.

Five months later, over £250,000 has been raised from the village alone, and with a local benefactor and practical help from numerous individuals, organisations and charities, the sale has been completed.

Stephen Harrod, who led the team that bought the pub, said: "It just shows how important the last pub in the village is, and what a community can do if it pulls together. The people of Great Milton have not just helped with money, but with incredible offers of help, from gardening, to plumbing, to design and decoration.

“It’s not too late for people to buy shares in the pub because the more we can raise the quicker we can get on with our plans to upgrade the pub.”

A village resident with experience in the pub and catering business is running The Bull on a temporary basis until a full time tenant is appointed.

The aim is to maintain The Bull as a local, friendly pub, serving fine ale and good food, and to bring a new central focus to the community.

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