Community effort keeps Great Addington pub running

Holly Rainbow (landlady), with staff Anna Ramsden, Laura Eason and Beth Brown
Holly Rainbow (landlady), with staff Anna Ramsden, Laura Eason and Beth Brown

A village pub which closed its doors three years ago after its owners said it was unviable has found a new lease of life as a community-run venture.

The Hare and Hounds, in Great Addington, has seen its fair share of landlords come and go in the last 13 years, with about ten different names above the door.

In 2011, it looked like the pub could be lost for good when the owning brewery closed the doors for the last time. The pub stood empty for about nine months until a retired couple from the village decided to purchase it, not as an investment, says villager-turned-stand-in-landlord Rob Blackburn, but because of the emotional attachment they had to it.

Mr Blackburn, who has recently stepped down as landlord to allow landlady Holly Rainbow to take over, said since then keeping the pub running has become a community effort.

He added: “People from the village have put in fixtures and fittings for free.

“We’ve had tradesmen offering to do work for nothing or very little cost. Everyone is really supportive.”

Mr Blackburn ran the pub for several months after the departure of the former landlord, and he has now handed over the reins to Holly, who has ten years’ experience in the pub trade including a stint at the Old Market Inn in Kettering.

Holly was travelling and managing bars in New Zealand and Australia when she heard about the opportunity to take over the Hare and Hounds.

She added: “I knew Rob already and when I heard about the pub it pulled at my heartstrings and I decided to come back as it sounded like an interesting project.

“There’s a great community feel and everyone gets behind the events.”

Holly has also been joined by a new chef, Carl Long, formerly of Oundle Mill and Rushton Hall and as a result the pub now offers quality meals several days a week.

The pub was also recently granted an extension to its licensing hours, allowing it to open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as earlier in the morning to provide coffees and refreshments.

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