THE pub where Sir Winston Churchill ‘learnt to drink’ will officially become owned by the community on Thursday.

The Bladon community has come together in the last year to fight for the survival of the White House after it was put on the open market in September 2019.

The village then had six months to raise enough money to put in a bid to buy the 17th century pub, the last remaining one in the village.

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Mike Edwards, pub committee member, said: “We were worried that the pub would be sold for development and so formed our own war cabinet to save the White House.

“We held many events and it was clear that the community was behind the bid.”

After six months of relentless campaigning, the Bladon Community Benefit Society had over 450 shareholders and had raised more than £330,000 in shares.

The White House has become renown for being the pub where the former Prime Minister drank during his adolescent years and it was this link that saw the group gain momentum and interest.

The plight of the White House was even picked up in Australia, when news channel 9 News Australia featured the story earlier this year.

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Although 90 per cent of shareholders are from Bladon and the surrounding villages, the press coverage in Australia has seen shares purchased in the country.

The team also successfully applied for funding from the Plunkett Foundation and put in an offer to Greene King just before lockdown.

In May, the offer was accepted and the community will be handed the keys tomorrow.

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Rachel Guest, pub committee member, said: “It was a real community effort and even the global coronavirus pandemic didn’t stand in our way.

“These unprecedented times have boosted Bladon’s community spirit even further. We can’t wait to raise a socially distanced glass with our fellow shareholders and supporters.”

It is hoped the pub will reopen in September, and will offer a host of services including a cafe, shop and meeting place for groups.

The search for a tenant is underway and a plan for essential renovations has been drawn up.

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The pub joins an ever growing list of pubs that are owned by communities in the UK.

There are currently more than 100 community-owned pubs, and speaking about them in May, Mr Edwards said: “There’s over 100 community pubs now in the UK and not one of them has failed - it’s a great business model but you need the support of the local community and further afield which we have had in spades.”

The team is still fundraising in order to make improvements to the pub. To donate to the project, please visit: