A MUCH-loved village pub near Pershore has been saved from closure thanks to the determination of a resident to keep it open.

The Old Chestnut Tree Inn, in Lower Moor, was due to close at the end of February after the former owner took over a pub in Pershore.

Its closure would have meant the loss of the post office and the village shop which were incorporated into the 16th century pub in 2011.

But when electrician Andy Pitt, who has lived in the village all his life, heard about the decision to close he quickly intervened.

The 43-year-old, of Bridge Street, was so concerned about the loss to the village he took over the lease on March 1 - the day it was due to shut.

He now runs it with his wife Samia, 35, who has been working there as the manager for the last three years, and is keeping on all five members of staff.

"It's been my local since I was old enough to drink," he said. "I was horrified. I was never going to let it shut. There's a post office which a lot of older people use. I didn't want that to suffer.

"The Chestnut Tree is an asset to the village and we can’t afford to lose it. With so many pubs closing around us we need to keep it open."

According to CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) 18 pubs are closing each week including the Anchor Inn in the adjoining village of Wyre Piddle which has been closed since Christmas.

The restaurant will serve traditional, country pub food headed up by chef Conrad Mitchells and from Monday, April 7, the pub will be serving food seven days a week when it opens the kitchen on Monday and Tuesday lunchtimes as well in the evenings.

There are also plans to start parish games including pool, darts and live music and every month the pub will serve a new guest ale.

And both shop and the post office are set to be re-opened in the next few weeks.

Mr Pitt said that so far, business has been good and the new arrangements were going down well with punters.

"The trade has come back in the last three weeks since I've been running it, it's phenomenal," he said. "We took a gamble but hopefully it's paid off."