Punters in the Calder Valley saw a moment of history on Saturday as they witnessed the opening of West Yorkshire’s first co-operative pub.
Hundreds of customers raised a glass to the Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge which was officially taken over and refurbished by Fox and Goose (Hebden Bridge) Ltd last week in a £130,000 community initiative.
Councillor Dave Young, a director of the Fox and Goose (Hebden Bridge) Ltd – the society set up to buy and run the pub for the community – said: “We did it! This wonderful old pub which is both a well-loved social hub and an important piece of our local heritage is now saved for the community for posterity.
“On behalf of everyone connected with the Fox and Goose and involved in the campaign, I’d like to thank all the people who have backed us throughout and worked so hard to make this dream come true - our loyal supporters, the staff, the local community, the media and co-operative organisations who have all helped to make it happen.”
The pub on Heptonstall Road was threatened with closure due to the ill health of the landlady.
A share offer raised £130,000 to buy and refurbish the venue, with more than 250 regulars, local people and pub fans from across the country rallying round to support the campaign and become shareholders in the co-operative.
A ‘DIY SOS’-style make-over was carried out by volunteers last week week to get the Fox ready for the grand re-opening. This included a wash and brush-up, repainting, new furniture and replacing the beer pumps.
A spokesperson said: “The plan is now to carry out bigger refurbishments such as wiring and heating during closing times – with people sometimes working through the night - to minimise disruption to customers. The intention is to make the pub more welcoming and comfortable, but nothing will be done which will change its traditional character.
“High up on the new co-operative pub agenda is to bring back the extremely popular Fox and Goose beer festival in May.”
To see a video from the opening ceremony go to http://youtu.be/U0Bxh5BMEG0