THE new landlord and lady at Sandford-on-Thames’ Catherine Wheel say they want ito make it a community hub.

Billy and Emma Fox, who took over running the Henley Road pub on March 27, have already started hosting the Saturday market and say it is going well.

The couple have lived in Sandford for seven years, and used to run Littlemore’s Golden Ball.

Mrs Fox said: “It’s going really well.

“We were approached by the people who run the market and we just agreed to do it.

“We are villagers and we want to promote the community, we want this pub to be a hub for the community.”

The Saturday morning market, from 9am to midday, hosts local farmers, butchers and beekeepers selling fresh produce.

It was formerly held at Sandford-on-Thames Village hall, but had to find a new home as the hall is undergoing a £500,000 revamp. Work on rebuilding the hall, increasing the number of rooms from one to four and creating a new community cafe, began on April 7.

The Saturday market and other events run by Sandford volunteer group Talking Shop raised £20,000 towards the cost of the scheme.

Run from the hall by more than 60 volunteers, the group celebrated its third birthday in April.

The hall scheme was also awarded £100,000 from South Oxfordshire District Council and £75,000 from Wren, which distributes landfill tax credit money.

South Oxfordshire District Councillor for Sandford, John Cotton, said it was “great” the market had been hosted by Mr and Mrs Fox.

He said: “It is great to see the community coming together in this way.

“The Saturday market in Sandford is one of the most successful community shops we have got in the district.

“The fact they have managed to shift it into the pub while the hall is being rebuilt just underscores that.”

Mr and Mrs Fox are also now hosting a monthly Talking Shop quiz and the Secret Pizza Society pizza van.

The couple made national headlines in 2006 when the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, joined others in objecting to their application to extend the opening hours of the Golden Ball.

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