The White Lion at Broadwindsor will be reopening as a Community pub on Friday, 29th April at 6pm.
It follows months of negotiations with owners Palmers Brewery, a hugely successful public fundraising campaign and weeks of hard work by volunteers to refurbish the West Dorset village’s only public house.
The campaign had been spearheaded by parish council vice-chairman David Leader, who died suddenly last month at the age of 64.
Rick Dyke, Chairman of the White Lion Management Committee, said: ‘Without David’s energy, enthusiasm and diplomacy, we would not be about to reopen the pub. We hope that The White Lion will become the community hub that David envisaged.’
He paid tribute to the local community which has so generously supported the committee’s fundraising efforts.
He added: ‘I’d also like to thank the many volunteers who have so freely given their time to help with the refurbishment, some of whom have been almost living in the pub in recent months. They know who they are!
‘I am sure everyone who visits The White Lion will agree that the transformation has been remarkable. I’d also like to thank all the committee members who have given so much of their time, knowledge and experience in delivering this project.’
Around £50,000 was raised for refurbishment and working capital through public donations, grants, funding from the Parish Council, a contribution from Palmers Brewery and events, including a band night and two themed food evenings. A pop-up bar in the village hall (The Comrades Arms) has been running since October and raised nearly £10,000.
The tenancy agreement for The White Lion was signed by committee members on 14th February. Work has been going on behind the scenes ever since to get the pub ready to open.
Manager Kate Staff, whose parents live locally, will be running the pub with her daughters, Chloe and Louise. They met the community at an open evening in the pub in February when visitors had the opportunity to find out more about the refurbishment and future plans.
Since then, Kate has been leading the volunteer decorating team in transforming the interior into a lighter and brighter space.
‘It’s lovely to be a part of this amazing project,’ she said. ‘We’re really looking forward to opening the doors and welcoming customers back into the pub.
We want The White Lion to be the kind of place where people can meet up with family and friends or feel comfortable to come in on their own. The White Lion has played a central role in village life over the years so long may that continue.’
Initially, the pub will be open only for drinks until new equipment is installed in the kitchen. But it’s hoped that it won’t be long before the pub is serving food again.
The White Lion aims to be modestly profitable but not for private profit, offering food and drink with an emphasis on local produce. The atmosphere is intended to be warm and friendly and a hub for the community.
The pub will be open from:
- Tuesday to Friday, from 6pm -11pm,
- Saturdays, 11am- 11pm
- Sundays, 12 noon – 10.30pm.
On Tuesday nights, the pub will not be serving food but customers are welcome to take in their fish and chips from Nat’s van that comes to the village every week.