THE first pints have been pulled in a newly reopened village pub that was saved from closure by determined locals.

The Ship Inn, in Rectory Road, Great Holland, has opened its doors to the public for the first time following a successful campaign by villagers.

The establishment, which was previously called the Manor, shut at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

The former landlord then drew up plans to turn the public house into a five-bedroom home.

But villagers instead launched the Manor Reborn community benefit society in a bid to save the 250-year-old pub.

After successfully having the building listed as an asset of community interest, which gives interested parties time to raise the cash to buy it.

The community benefit society hit its £400,000 target to buy the popular establishment in just eight weeks by selling shares.

Following a vote of its members, the pub has now reverted to its former name of the Ship Inn and opened to its already loyal clientele and the general public on an evening of celebration.

Anne Fairbrother, a member of the pub’s management committee, said: “The opening marked the culmination of more than a year of hard work on the part of the committee and volunteers.

“The opening night went exceptionally well and we hope the community will continue to support their hard-won pub.”

Villager Ray Smith welcomed waiting punters to the pub with a couple of sea shanties and Clacton MP Giles Watling and district councillor Dan Land attended the grand opening.

During his speech, Mr Watling proposed a toast to fellow Essex MP and friend Sir David Amess, who died after being stabbed while holding his constituency surgery in Leigh.

The campaign to save the pub has been backed by Mr Watling along with TalkRadio show host and Frinton resident James Max, who even bought shares in the pub.