AN EVESHAM saved from closure last year has celebrated its first anniversary in style.

The Red Lion in Market Place was rescued from closure in April last year after landlord Tom Doggett left his 20-year website development career to take it over.

Twelve months later, the pub is not only open but has won the CAMRA Award for New Landlord Achievements and Evesham Noticeboard's Business of the Year.

Mr Doggett took on the pub with no prior experience in the trade.

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Evesham Journal: Shakespeare Morris, and hobby horse, performing a traditional dance.Shakespeare Morris, and hobby horse, performing a traditional dance. (Image: George Dean)

“My main goal, especially over a very difficult winter, was survival," he said.

"But we’ve seen the pub flourish and be embraced by the local community.

"It’s such a thrill to see all the different groups of people who come in, the range and talent of musicians who play, and the friendships being made.”

The pub was filled to the brim, with around 200 customers spilling onto the street to celebrate The Red Lion's success.

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Evesham Journal: Dancers from Belle d’Vain Northwest Morris.Dancers from Belle d’Vain Northwest Morris. (Image: Lee Fisher)

50 Morris dancers from Five local Morris dancing sides turned up to help celebrate on August 1st from Bow Brook, Belle D'Vain, Pebworth, Shakespeare, and Flowers of Ilmington.

The evening was full of traditional folk music night, so the dancing turned to singing late into the night.

“It was unbelievable,” Mr Doggett added. “The pub was full, our outside space was full, there were Morris dancers everywhere, people playing the piano, singing, and a wonderful, celebratory atmosphere.

Evesham Journal: Tom Doggett with his Evesham Noticeboard's Business of the Year award.Tom Doggett with his Evesham Noticeboard's Business of the Year award. (Image: Tom Doggett)

"It was everything I imagined when I took over the pub and more.”

The pub provided free food for everyone and beer and fizz flowed.

“By the time we’d given away a lot of free drinks and fed far more people than we were expecting, we probably made less than on a normal Tuesday.

"But it wasn’t about that, it was about thanking my customers, staff, suppliers and the many people who have helped make the pub what it is.

"It takes a community to make a pub, and we couldn’t have picked a better way of showing it.”

Mr Doggett added that he struggles to believe what the team managed to squeeze in over the last twelve months.  

He said this is just the start, and he has many plans to bring people together.