‘Bravest village in Britain’ forms company in bid to buy local pub

RESIDENTS in a village once dubbed the ‘bravest in Britain’ have turned their attention to the mission of saving their local.

Shillingstone earned the bravery title during the First World War, due to the high number of residents volunteering to join the Armed Forces.

Now though, the 1,800-population village is facing a battle of a different kind – to keep the local pub open.

The Old Ox Inn was put up for sale by its current owners in October last year.

It has since been recognised as an Asset of Community Value and villagers, in partnership with Shillingstone Parish Council, have now formed a community interest company and set out on a journey to raise enough money to buy the property.

A designated Asset of Community Value – such as a pub – gives villagers rights to buy the asset in a six-month period.

Organisers said the Shillingstone Old Ox Community Interest Company was now working hard to raise funds.

Should the bid be successful, the company says the pub will undergo a refurbishment programme and an experienced tenant recruited to run the business.

“With pubs everywhere struggling, we feel the best chance of the Old Ox surviving long term is if we, like many other communities already have, take ownership,” said Ian Suter, of The Shillingstone Old Ox Community Interest Company and a village resident.

He said the company had already secured a substantial number of pledges and applied for a grant from the Community Ownership Fund, but needs more funds for the purchase and repairs to the building.

Anyone interested in making a financial contribution, or wants to find out more, should email

Meanwhile, The Old Ox Inn continues to operate as usual, serving food from Wednesday to Saturday between 5pm and 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes from noon to 2.30pm. To book, call 01258 860055.

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.