CUSTOMERS are turning into decorators as a Blackbird Leys pub gets a fresh lick of paint from volunteers.

The Blackbird, in Blackbird Leys Road, is having its exterior renovated with the wood being repaired and repainted.

Six volunteers, all regulars at the pub, have spent nearly two weeks on the work, which should be finished by tomorrow.

The project was organised by Sam Mitchell, who owns SJM Motor Repairs in Old Road, Headington.

The 51-year-old, of Kestrel Crescent, Blackbird Leys, said a rainy Friday night prompted the decision.

He added: “I was sitting in there last year with a couple of mates, and the roof was leaking, and it was just awful.

“I came up with the idea that we could take on the responsibility to do it up ourselves.”

He added: “We want to get more people in there. Would you go into a pub that looked like that?

“We’ve been coming here for years and it means a lot to us. We didn’t want it to close.”

This is the third and final stage of the refurbishment.

Last year saw the group renovate the interior of the pub, giving it new curtains and flooring, as well as a repaint.

Mr Mitchell said: “We’ve already done the bar and the lounge.

“We’ve never had to close the place. When we did up the bar we kept the lounge open, and vice versa when we did the lounge.

“Now the only thing we have to worry about is dropping paint on people as they walk in the front door.”

He said that this stage is the hardest for the crew. He said: “It was an absolute mess, it looked an absolute dump.

“It’s falling to bits, we’ve had to repair everything and give it a fresh coat of paint.”

The group tackled the pub with the permission of landlord Glen Williams.

It is owned by Greene King and a spokesman said: “The Blackbird is strong with community spirit.

“We thank those who have been involved in decorating their local pub.”

The company has paid for the materials, and are giving a “nominal fee” to the crew for the final stage of the work.

Most of the group are painters and decorators themselves.

One painter is Blackbird Leys resident Dave Simms, 51, who said: “We’re all locals here, and we wanted to make it look better.”