UK villagers celebrate reopening their local pub after spending ten years raising 500K to buy it

Villagers are celebrating reopening their local pub after spending ten years raising 500K to buy it - and stop developers turning it into flats.

Locals have spent a decade fighting to save The Rising Sun from being converted into homes.

The community group 'Save Our Sun' worked tirelessly with fundraisers and events to raise half a million pounds to buy it.

They eventually raised the cash and bought it and began renovating it themselves as it had lain empty for a decade and fallen into disrepair.

The pub in Woodcroft in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire has now reopened its doors as a boozer - and community hub.

GP Michelle Hayes, chair of 'Save Our Sun' said: "The community is absolutely thrilled to see The Rising Sun open its doors again.

"This is a testament, not only to the hard work of the committee and community who have come together to help with renovations.

"They had belief in this project and are supporting the pub, making it something really special now it is open as a vital community hub."

The pub had closed in October 2011 and was purchased by a developer in 2012.

But villagers were concerned when they heard the building would not be opening again as a pub.

Resident Lynne Fletcher, who lived around 60 yards away from the pub at the time of its closure, said: "We weren't too worried when it shut because the estate agents said it was being sold as a pub.

"The first indication something was wrong was when a neighbour asked a workman how long before it would be before it re-opened again.

"He told him 'It'll never open as a pub again mate'."

Residents began battling with planning applications and appeals and the Forest of Dean District Council declared The Rising Sun as a community asset in 2013.

After years of battling, the new owners, who had bought the pub to convert into two semi-detached houses, eventually agreed to sell the pub to the Save Our Sun group at the end of last year.