A 500-year-old pub that has been kept afloat by residents since being on the brink of closing now has new owners.
The Queens Head in Long Marston was rescued by villagers nearly 17 months ago, and they have managed to keep it afloat since then.
And now its future has been secured for sure after being taken over by long-term residents Julie Tottman and Glenn Barrington, who have purchased it as a freehold from Fullers Brewery.
It marks a complete turnaround from November 2015, when local residents each chipped in £100 to keep it afloat over the Christmas period after the previous owner handed in the keys.
That campaign was spearheaded by resident Tim Ayling, who had previously worked in hospitality.
Since then Tim and his team have found a business model to keep the venue afloat, and are now handing over the keys to new owners who can continue the pub’s upwards trajectory.
Mr Ayling said: “I could not have started this without the support of the people that with blind faith handed me their £100.
“The 12-week babysit to keep the pub open was never meant to grow into what it became.
“Liz and I did this to keep the pub open, never thinking for one moment we would hand over long-term to a new owner as a freehouse.
“We wish Glenn and Jules every success in the future and hope the locals will continue to support the pub as they have done for us.”
Now the pub is a freehouse, meaning that it has no ties to a brewery and can stock ales and beers from whatever suppliers it wants.
And new owner Glenn intends to work with local breweries to supply his beer, stocking Tring Brewery’s ‘Side Pocket for a Toad’ as a permanent option with a variety of guest ales.
They will also be stocking Puddingstone Gin which is distilled locally.
Plans are afoot to refresh the pub with a new relaunched menu and the continuation of the Open Mic nights on Sundays at least once a month.
They also hope to hold coffee mornings and themed evenings raising money for local charities, continuing on the good work for local causes that Tim and his team had done.
As residents of the village for more than 12 years, Glenn and Jules said they are “very much looking forward to the challenge” of running the village local, and are keen to keep using a similar formula to the one created by Tim.
Glenn said: “Some may see us as a bit mad, but we love the depth of feeling shown by the community of Long Marston for the Queens Head as the hub of the village, and we are passionate about continuing the history of this 500-year-old pub.
“We very much look forward to the continuation of the support offered by locals during Tim’s reign as landlord.”