VILLAGERS in Cresswell are thrilled after their local watering hole opened again – following a campaign to save building.
The Izaak Walton in Cresswell has reopened after undergoing a £120,000 transformation.
Families launched a petition after the derelict pub was targeted by vandals and fly-tippers after its closure 18 months ago. Now they are delighted that the business is back up and running.
Jacquie Leach, aged 56, of Sandon Road, Cresswell, said: "I am so pleased to see the pub has reopened again. The pub has been very successful in the past, not just with the locals, but also with people from other areas, who came here to visit the venue.
"When the pub closed, we started a petition to campaign for someone to take it on.
"Unfortunately, as with all empty buildings, it attracted fly-tippers who dumped mattresses on the site.
"There was also some graffiti on the brickwork. It is great that the pub decor hasn't changed much in that it still looks very traditional.
"I have met the new landlady and she has been brilliant and kept us informed all throughout its refurbishment."
More than 100 customers attended the pub's official opening on Thursday.
Carole Toft, who lives next to the pub in Cresswell Lane, said: "I have lived here since 1978 so I have seen many owners come and go. Before the pub closed, the business was starting to go downhill.
"However, my husband John and I are delighted it has reopened again because it is a community hub for local residents. I like the new decor and we will definitely be coming again soon."
The business is owned by The Mornington Pub Company and is now being run by landlady Kathy Morton.
The 50-year-old, who grew up in Penkhull, said: "I was running a pub in Cornwall before moving here about two weeks ago. It has been great to be able to move back to North Staffordshire as my parents still live in the area.
"The building was in a bit of state before we reopened so we gave it a lick of paint and made the place a bit brighter.
"However, we have kept everything very traditional and I have even added oatcakes to the lunchtime menu.
"The opening evening went very well and it was great to meet some of the local residents. "Their reaction to the reopening has been very positive, which is definitely very encouraging."