CHARLIE Spence has been drinking at The Green Tree in Wallingford since he was old enough to buy a round.

But he will be pulling the pints in future after coming to the pub’s rescue along with fellow entrepreneur Chris Marsh.

The pair have taken over the tenancy of the Green Tree, in St Leonard’s Square, after it closed two months ago.

Now they want volunteers to help them with a £25,000 revamp so that it will be ready to re-open in November.

Mr Spence, 23, and Mr Marsh, 27, have taken the Enterprise Inns tenancy with a view to buying the freehold if the venture proves a success, and Daniel Thatcher will work as bar manager.

Mr Spence, who had worked in public relations, said: “As a former customer I am really looking forward to working on the other side of the bar as I come from Wallingford.

“The building has been left looking a little bit run down. Pubs are closing left, right and centre at the moment and I was sorry to see the Green Tree shut.

“I know some local members of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) were worried the pub would be shut for good.

“It’s one of Wallingford’s oldest pubs and I believe Agatha Christie used to come in here every now and then when she lived in the town.”

Mr Spence said he wanted a team of about 10 volunteers to help renovate it.

He added: “The pub company will take care of the electrics but we will do the rest of the work.”

Former mayor of Wallingford Bernard Stone said: “It’s good to see local independent traders taking on a new business – that’s what we are trying to encourage in Wallingford.

“The Green Tree is very central so it could serve people from the town very well.

“They won’t have to worry about driving.

“It is a tricky climate for pubs and they have been closing at a great rate in recent years but Wallingford has not suffered too badly.

“About 50 yards from the Green Tree, the Partridge restaurant in St Mary’s Street was a pub called the Royal Standard until about four or five years ago.”

Other pubs that closed in the town included the Greyhound in St John’s Road, which was destroyed in a fire, and the Norman Knight in Wantage Road.

Richard Pask, a regional manager for Midlands-based Enterprise Inns, confirmed Mr Spence and Mr Marsh had taken over the pub and added: “We always try to do our best for communities and I think this is good news.”

Pub company spokesman Vicky Averis added that Enterprise Inns was working with the new tenants to provide a comfortable interior for drinkers.