A CAMPAIGN to save a village’s last pub has stepped up with the opportunity to buy shares in it.

Residents in Stonesfield launched the community share sale last Saturday, as they look to secure the future of The White Horse.

Fears remain that the pub could be sold to developers and lost forever.

However, campaigners hope that through the sale of shares, their target of £480,000 can be reached.

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Steve Callaghan, chair of the Stonesfield Community Pub steering committee, said: “We’re delighted to offer this opportunity to Stonesfield residents and any supporters of the pub.

“A lot of hard work and countless hours have gone into preparing this community share offer and the plan for the future of the pub that sits behind it.

“We’ve achieved the share standard mark, which is a significant accolade, indicating that our proposal meets the standards of good practice.

“We’re confident that we can raise the funds to reinvent The White Horse as more than just a pub.

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“We just couldn’t see the last pub in Stonesfield sold for development without giving our friends and neighbours the chance to keep it open.

“We want a thriving and successful pub that people love to visit.”

Shares can be bought from £50, with the sale closing on November 30.

Campaigners hope that the opportunity to be a shareholder and have a say on the future of the pub will entice buyers.

The community share sale forms a significant part of the committee’s business plan.

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If successful, the funds raised will be used to buy the pub and refurbish it.

Clare Brooks, vice-chair of the steering committee, added: “When we heard that our local, The White Horse, the last pub in a village that 100 years ago boasted half a dozen, was being put on the market, we decided that, regardless of the economic challenges of lockdown, we were going to try our best to save it.

“The community share sale represents a great step into securing and transforming The White Horse into so much more than just a pub.

“It will enable the residents of Stonesfield and beyond the fantastic opportunity to ensure there is a flourishing, friendly, and welcoming space in the heart of our village for the benefit of all.

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“We have a concrete, viable business plan, approved by the Plunkett Foundation’s More than a Pub scheme.

“The community share offer is the main focus of our fundraising and is a tried and tested method that has enabled over 100 communities across the UK to save their local pub.”

The pub has been up for sale since the end of July, when the committee triggered a six-month timeframe to put together a bid as a community, through a disposal notice.

In August, committee member Simon Warr said that ideas were flowing in on ways to improve the pub, with things like residency chefs, gin and beer tasting, and cookery competitions.

Drinkers in nearby Bladon, clubbed together to save The White House in July after months of fundraising.