BEER lovers have raised a glass to the community effort that led to the re-opening of a village pub.

The Forest of Dean branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) met at the Rising Sun Community Pub in Woodcroft to present licensees Lee and Sian Clark with a special certificate declaring it community pub of the year.

It recognised the efforts of the local community to save the Rising Sun from permanent closure. 

A CAMRA spokesman said: “The village pub closed in 2011 and was acquired by a Chepstow-based property developer intent on changing the use of the pub to residential. 

“What followed was a long, and sometimes difficult, campaign by the Save Our Sun group to reopen the pub for the community. 

“Thankfully, planners at Forest of Dean District Council were sympathetic with their objective to save the pub and refused the application for residential use. 

“Locals clubbed together and eventually raised enough capital to purchase the Rising Sun and, after a period of extensive restoration and rebuilding, the Rising Sun finally reopened in October 2022. 

“The efforts of the local community to rally together to save the Rising Sun from closure cannot be underestimated.

“What the Save Our Sun campaign has done through fund-raising, raising public awareness and finding experts to guide them through the often-complex planning procedures is truly inspirational. 

“The Rising Sun has now been successfully trading for a year and is, as expected, a great asset to the community.

Forest of Dean CAMRA chairman Geoff Sandles presented Lee and Sian with the CAMRA Community Pub of the Year certificate,

He said: “Without the efforts of the Woodcroft community and the Save Our Sun group, I’d probably be standing in someone’s living room right now. 

“Instead, what we have is a truly amazing and welcoming village pub serving well-kept real ales, offering a fantastic food menu and a community focused hub that hosts regular charity quiz nights and other events. 

“To all those who have contributed in any way to keep this wonderful pub alive I say congratulations. 

“You must be very proud of what you have achieved.”