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Dancing for joy – as Fox & Goose becomes West Yorkshire's first co-op pub!

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge re-opened its doors at the weekend as West Yorkshire's first Co-operative pub.

First through the door at 12noon on Saturday (March 22) was local poet Winston Plowes who received a celebratory pint - then he was joined by hundreds of happy customers throughout the course of the day.

Fox and Goose co-operative pub - YouTube

Some supporters were literally dancing for joy! The Hill's Milies Morris Dancers who've been Fox regulars since the '90s and first started dancing in the pub 10 years ago, put on a celebratory show in the bar.

Once contracts were exchanged last week it meant the well-loved traditional real ale hostelry was saved from closure and will remain a pub at the heart of the community now and into the future.

A share offer raised £130,000 to buy and refurbish the historic pub in Heptonstall Road, after it was threatened with closure due to the ill-health of the landlady.  More than 250 regulars, local people and pub fans from across the country rallied round to support the campaign and become shareholders in the co-operative.

A 'DIY SOS'-style make-over was carried out by volunteers throughout the week to get the Fox ready for the grand reopening. This included a wash and brush-up, repainting, new furniture and replacing the beer pumps. The plan is now to carry out bigger refurbishments such as wiring and heating during closing times – with people sometimes working through the night - to minimise disruption to customers. The intention is to make the pub more welcoming and comfortable, but nothing will be done which will change its traditional character.

High up on the new co-operative pub agenda is to bring back the extremely popular Fox and Goose beer festival in May.

Cllr Dave Young, a director of the Fox and Goose (Hebden Bridge) Ltd the Society set up to buy and run the pub for the community – said: "We did it! - This wonderful old pub which is both a well-loved social hub and an important piece of our local heritage is now saved for the community for posterity.

"On behalf of everyone connected with the Fox and Goose and involved in the campaign, I'd like to thank all the people who have backed us throughout and worked so hard to make this dream come true - our loyal supporters, the staff, the local community, the media and co-operative organisations who have all helped to make it happen."

The campaign was supported by The Co-operative Enterprise Hub and the group received help with business planning, incorporation and the preparation of the community share offer document from Dave Hollings at Co-operative and Mutual Solution (CMS) on the Hub's behalf.

Previously, on the HebWeb

HebWeb News: Fox and Goose purchase completed - it is now officially West Yorkshire's first Co-operative pub (21 March 2014)

HebWeb News: All hands to the pumps as pub prepares for community purchase (11 March 2014)

HebWeb News: Pub co-op buy-out deal gets green light (18 December 2013)

HebWeb News: Glasses are raised as co-operative pub share offer hits its target. (12 August 2013)

HebWeb News: Extra time called as shares bonanza puts co-op pub on target (30 July 2013)

HebWeb News: Last orders call as co-op pub share offer enters final leg. (25 July 2013)

HebWeb News: Fox Friends stall in George’s Square (19 July 2013)

HebWeb News: Fox and Goose: Share Offer Launched to buy Community Pub (17 June 2013)

HebWeb News: Fox and Goose: Share Offer Launched to buy Community Pub (1 May 2013)

HebWeb News: Fox Friends back Co-operative Pub plans (Sept 2012)

HebWeb News - All aboard for the Fox Friends Beer Bus beano

HebWeb News: Fox Friends Drink to the Dirty Half Dozen (5 April 2012)

HebWeb News: Fox and Goose Pub Co-op

HebWeb Forum: Fox and Goose Pub Co-op (Jan-March 2012)