DRAGONS have come to the rescue of a village pub named after the saint traditionally considered to be their arch-enemy – George.
The new owners of The George at Burpham have been compared to the investors in television’s The Dragons’ Den, with three major funders joined by another 14 villagers.
Their stakes have saved the former George and Dragon from closure and given the pub a brighter future, celebrated on Saturday evening when it was officially opened by Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert.
Among the backers are previous leaseholders of the pub, Sara and Michael Cheney, who wanted to ensure that the building remained a pub for the benefit of the Downland village community and its visitors.
David King, Simon Lay and Bill Tustin are the three leading dragons and a further 14 villagers from Burpham, Warningcamp and Wepham took up the offer of shares, together, forming the Burpham and Warningcamp Pub Company.
After closing for a few weeks while a full refurbishment was carried out with the help of local designers, Miranda Snow Interiors and Amalgam Interiors, and local builder Terry Tunmore, The George reopened on a perfect weekend for customers to sit outside with a drink in the picture-postcard village.
The name has been changed in part to avoid confusion it with other George and Dragon pubs nearby, and to also signify a new beginning for the pub.
As well as serving food and real ales, the pub is extending its offering by including morning coffee and pastries, and providing free WiFi through a satellite broadband.
Villagers gathered on Saturday evening to watch Mr Herbert cut a ribbon and declare the pub officially open.
The MP said: “It is great to see The George rescued by local entrepreneurs and everyone seemed very pleased with its refurbishment.
“It’s a very popular pub and I hope that it will flourish under its new ownership.”