After losing their Post Office, garage, school and shop, residents rally for their village pub

The Westmorland Gazette: Villagers in Whittington are asking for contributions to help re-open The Dragon's head Villagers in Whittington are asking for contributions to help re-open The Dragon's head

A COMMUNITY in the Lune Valley has vowed to rally together to save one of the only major servicesit has left.

Residents in Whittington, near Kirkby Lonsdale, are determined to raise £150,000 to help re-open their only pub – the Dragon’s Head – after losing their Post Office, garage, school and village shop in amatter of years.

“All we’ve really got left is the pub,” said resident, John Keegan, of Loyne Park.

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“There’s a field behind it so it was always used for sports days and outside events and for Bonfire Night too.

“It’s also one of the few places people can socialise. The difference has been noticeable since it closed.”

The pub, which had been open since early last century, shut down around a year ago, two years after former landlord, Dave Ridgway, died.

Since then Jan and Mike Alty, a couple from Ormskirk, have put in an offer on the building, after visiting the village as holiday-makers and ‘falling in love’ with it.

However, a legal wrangle over the deeds and a right of way around the pub has prevented the sale from going through. In the meantime the pub has fallen into a state of disrepair, with broken windows enabling weather and birds to get in.

Now Mr and Mrs Alty say if they buy the pub they will need to spend around £150,000 on essential work before they can even think about re-opening the building to customers.

Mrs Alty said this includes a complete overhaul of the cellar and kitchen, as well as structural and roof repairs.

“We would love to be able to take the pub over,” said Mrs Alty.

“We want to live in that village and since the day I first walked into the Dragon’s Head 12 years ago it’s been the only one, apart from the one I run currently, that I’ve wanted to run.”

At a public meeting on Monday more than 50 determined villagers turned out to say they will contribute to the work.

Now if there are enough people who agree to contribute – with a recommended payment of between £500 and £1,000 each – they hope the pub could be up and running as early as Christmas, or by the Easter point-to-point event, next year.

Another public meeting will be held on Tuesday (July 15) at 7pm at Whittington Village Hall, for anybody interested in finding out more.

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