VILLAGERS are raising a glass to the revival of a much-loved pub.

The Bird in Bush at Elsdon has been bought by Katie Bland and Stephen Shaw, who have promised the building will be transformed into much more than just a pub.

“The Bird in Bush will be something for the community. We want it to be somewhere comfy where people can sit down, read and have a drink”, Katie said.

Having bought the Grade II Listed property at auction, the couple plan to make the pub central to village life once again.

Katie said local support has been overwhelming. “Everyone is just glad to have their pub back”, she said.

The Bird in Bush is the only one of four pubs in the village to have stood the test of time, with the rest closing many years ago.

Nestled in the heart of the village, it dates back to the 18th century.

The couple have big plans for the pub, including a games room, food, live music and space for local artists to show their work.

With a little help from friends at Stu Brew and Allendale Brewery, Katie and partner Stephen also plan on setting up their own micro-brewery.

Community stalwarts Katie, Stephen and their three children live in a former coaching inn across the village green from the pub and say they plan on staying in the village long term.

A complete novice to the pub industry, Katie admits she has never pulled a pint in her life.

She said: “We have never run a pub before, but I have run a restaurant and Stephen has worked for catering companies in London, so we know the logistics and management side.

“We’re taking it slowly and plan to have meetings with the community to find out what they want.”

Katie and Stephen want the pub to appeal to locals and visitors alike.

“It will be child-friendly, dog-friendly, something for everyone”, Katie said.

“We hope it will bring younger families to the area and offer local employment.

“It’s really important in rural communities to attract younger families and retain them.”

The property also boasts three en-suite bedrooms for accommodation, some of which will possibly be converted into bunk rooms in a bid to attract backpackers.

The couple get the keys on January 21 and hope to have completed work by the spring.

Katie said: “We are so excited to get started.

“We are very lucky to have this heritage property which is steeped in history.”