LIKE the mythical Phoenix, the Horse and Jockey has risen from the ashes following a devastating fire.

The 16th century pub in Stanford in the Vale near Wantage, destroyed by a fire in July, will relaunch with a party on Saturday night.

Managers Charles and Anna Gaunt have spent the past eight months restoring the building and are inviting the village for a party to say ‘thank you’ for their support.

Mrs Gaunt said: “At the time it was absolutely devastating.

“We love this pub, this building and this village.

“But immediately after it happened the village rallied round, offering us accommodation and help, they were fantastic.

“Because of their support, I never thought it was the end of the pub.

“That made us think whatever happened we were going to get through it.”

On July 6, dozens of people were evacuated from the pub after drinkers in the garden noticed smoke coming from the roof.

More than 50 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Faringdon Road pub late into the night.

Mr and Mrs Gaunt said they still do not know what caused the fire, but an insurance claim by owners Greene King has paid for the revamp.

Oxford Mail:

An image of the fire last year taken by Frank Coldwell

Inside, the pub has been sensitively redecorated with new furnishings installed and the bar extended.

The Horse and Jockey will once again offer lunch and dinner and will re-introduce its homemade ice cream.

The pub has also been quick to reinstate popular events, including a weekly quiz, a monthly open mic night and a knitting club twice a month.

Stanford in the Vale parish council chairman Peter Gill said: “This is brilliant news, especially as it’s the only pub left in the village.

“Charles and Anna are super people. They are looking forward to coming back and we’re looking forward to welcoming them back.”

He said that while the pub had been closed, the village hall had hosted several ‘Jockey’ nights to keep the spirit of the pub alive.

At the reborn Horse and Jockey, special food-themed evenings will also be held once a month and a number of food and drink festivals are planned for the summer.

Mrs Gaunt said: “It has been a difficult year but we are thrilled to be opening the doors again.”