Staff reopened one of Oxford's most popular pubs today — more than a year after it was almost destroyed by a devastating blaze.

Eighty firefighters were called to the 17th century Perch pub in Binsey after a faulty chimney flue set the thatched roof on fire in May last year.

Fire accident investigators concluded the blaze, which destroyed the roof and badly damaged the interior, started accidentally.

Firefighters Guy Dunkley and Grahame Mitchell, who dealt with the aftermath of the blaze, were among guests invited to today's opening, along with the Dean of Christ Church, Christopher Lewis.

Johnny Mignon, 31, who runs The Perch, lost all his possessions in the blaze. He said: "I'm so happy that the pub has reopened — I'm over the moon. Without the incredible support of Christ Church, which owns the pub, we would not be in this position.

"The pub will reopen to the public on Sunday when there will be beers and a barbecue and we will be open for business as normal on Monday with the a la carte menu."

Work to rebuild the pub started in January and the thatched roof was replaced in the summer.

Bampton thatcher Andrew Bowman spent five weeks restoring the roof, using combed straw.

Mr Dunkley said: "We had to remove the roof and use a chainsaw to create a firebreak to save the walls of the pub.

"It's a testament to Johnny's determination that the pub has reopened because 80 per cent of businesses don't reopen after a fire."

Mr Lewis said the fire was a "great tragedy" and added: "We are very pleased we now have this relationship with Johnny and the pub is in the hands of a landlord who really cares about the pub."

In the summer, Mr Mignon and other villagers staged a village fete to raise money for the village church.

Mel McCulloch, 32, who lives in the village, said: "I came here for my son John's first birthday party just before the fire, so we’ve been looking forward to coming back.

"The village suffered the fire and then the floods in July and everyone tried to rally together — now the pub is back I think it's a sign things are looking up."

Anne Giles, 55, who lived in the village for many years, but now lives in Botley, added: "The pub is the hub of the village."

Thirty years ago, the pub was badly damaged in a fire caused by an electrical fault and the refurbishment took about 18 months to complete.