Villagers rally round after their 500-year-old pub faces closure

Villagers at the Queens Head, Long Marston
Villagers at the Queens Head, Long Marston

Villagers faced with losing their 500-year-old pub before Christmas have raised more than £4,000 to keep its doors open over the festive period.

Residents in Long Marston dug deep and donated what they could after the previous landlord at the Queens Head handed over the keys a few weeks ago.

The campaign was spearheaded by villager Tim Ayling, who has previously worked in hospitality, after he heard the brewery were struggling to find another 
tenant to take over.

Mr Ayling, who now works for Tring-based pub firm Oakman Inns, remains a licensee from his pub-running days and has lived in the village for four-and-a-half years.

He said: “I had this hare-brained scheme to put a message out on Facebook, asking everyone to put in £100 each.

“We’ve now had 44 people invest what they can, and we re-opened on 
Saturday night.”

The 40-year-old and his wife Liz, 41, both work full-time but have been dedicating their evenings to running the pub and working with villagers to utilise the space as much as possible.

The dad-of-one said: “The whole village has united and it’s been very humbling. I’ve lost count of how many people have offered us help.

“The support we have received is very much appreciated and we have bucked the trend to keep the heart of the village open for business.”

There are plans for food nights, afternoon teas and Christmas carol evenings. The pub is open from 5pm every weekday and all day Saturday and Sunday. Search The Queens Head Long Marston on Facebook for more.