A DETERMINED Hilderstone couple have stepped in to save their village pub from the axe - and are hoping their neighbours will help them keep it open.
The Roebuck Inn was set to shut its doors for the last time on November 30 but Julie and Phil Dale decided they could not let it happen.
Mr Dale called Admiral Taverns and asked whether he could take on the lease on a temporary basis - and bosses agreed.
They convinced outgoing landlord Pete Condiffe to stay on while they found their feet and Mr Dale began writing and hand delivering letters to everyone in the village to urge them to help him preserve the pub by dropping in regularly.
And Mr Dale says they have been overwhelmed by the “heartwarming” response from the community.
“The last two years the pub has been run by a guy on his own and two weeks ago he told us he was leaving and the owners had no plans to replace him,” said Mr Dale. “They were already in the
process of organising to have the place boarded up indefinitely.” He added: “I think the pub tradition in the UK is really important and I just think it’s horrific and a crying shame when you see all these places closing down.
“The response we have had from the villagers has been quite heartwarming really. People have written to us to tell us how brave they think we have been.
“Obviously we have taken a bit of a risk.
Right now there are about 45 people who use the pub on a regular basis, we only need a few more.
Mr Dale said the long-term plan was to buy the pub with the help of the community.
“The lease we have is for one year.
Once we’ve got it on an even keel again, we have to work out how to keep it.” The news comes in the wake of Seighford residents getting together to buy the village’s Hollybush pub when it was offered for sale earlier this year.
Mr Dale has urged anyone who might be able to help or have any ideas for the pub to get in touch on 01889505071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.