AN HISTORIC pub has been transformed into a new hub for the community and is opening its doors to customers once again tomorrow (Monday, July 19).

A community consortium was set up to buy the Porton Hotel from Enterprise Inns in January to save the pub in the village and create a community hub once again.

The name of the pub has been changed to The Old Railway Hotel as a nod to its previous name during the Victorian era, The Porton Railway Hotel.

"It's been a lot of work," said Keith Hartland, who is part of the group who bought the pub. "We're really excited and a bit nervous.

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"We're looking forward to it. Everyone's given us lots of encouragement."

Extensive refurbishment work has been carried out over five months with new wiring and plumbing, new ensuite bathrooms for the hotel rooms.

A barn on the site also had to be demolished for safety reasons.

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The new decor plays homage to the building's historic roots with old pictures of the pub as well as tributes to its links to the railway.

During the refurbishment Keith has discovered more about the building's historic past - including a fire in June 1921 after the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918/19.

Keith says the project has been an "adventure" but admit it has turned out to be more work than was initially planned.

The revamped venue will provide a place for nearby workers to enjoy lunch as well as coffee and cake mornings for older residents and offering a family friendly place to go to.

Keith hopes the pub with be a venue that the whole community can enjoy and wants it to be "all inclusive".

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A successful test evening was held yesterday ahead of the opening next week.

The opening of the pub had initially been scheduled in May and then June but had to be delayed as work continued on the refurbishment.

The revamped venue has eight hotel rooms and Keith says there are already bookings for the rooms and to use the venue for events.

"It's been a challenge. We have been working literally through the night to finalise things," he added. "But we're all ready and will be ready."

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Despite the challenges involved in the refurbishment project Keith says it has been "very satisfying and we look back we'll be very proud of this", adding: "You're bringing it back to its former glory."

The Old Railway Hotel is due to open at midday on Monday (July 19).

The venue's website will be up-and-running soon but for more information visit the Facebook page

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