A VILLAGE pub has reopened up its doors to visitors just in time for Christmas.

The Black Bull in Matfen closed unexpectedly in August, but has been refurbished and given a new lease of life by new landlord, Marshall Dunn, who said business had been booming since the pub reopened on Friday.

“On opening day we were chock-a-block, he said. “I think this goes to show how much the pub has been missed by local residents since it closed earlier in the year. We’ve had many locals come along for a drink and to show their support which has been great.”

But it isn’t just local residents who are eager to see the new Black Bull, with visitors from nearby rural villages who have lost their local pub in recent times, such as Great Whittington, also stopping by to show their support.

“It is a shame that they’ve lost their pub, but I’m glad we can give them somewhere to come and have a drink, talk and relax,” added Marshall. “It’s great to see both regulars and new faces.”

Marshall, a head chef by trade, has many years’ experience working in and later running pubs, even taking his culinary skills abroad to kitchens in Switzerland in the past.

“I liked the feel of the Black Bull when I came to look around. The building needed quite a bit of work, but I was up for a challenge. We’ve had a few teething problems in the run up to the opening, which is to be expected. But we’re getting there now, and we’re very happy for the pub back in business and are thankful to everyone who has visited.”

Although the kitchen, which hadn’t been in service for nine months, is still undergoing renovation, the pub is serving drinks including a range of local ales and Marshall hopes to start serving food once again in the new year.