THE hard work of a community which raised more than £350,000 to save their Wye Valley village pub has been celebrated with a prestigious national award.

The Rising Sun in Woodcroft between Chepstow and Tintern has been recognised by the national Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for 2023, winning its Pub Saving Award.

The award recognises people who have come together to save a pub that would have otherwise been demolished or converted to another use.

CAMRA says the “illustrious” accolade aims to secure publicity for pub-saving campaigns, to encourage others to “save their local”.

This year’s title has been awarded to the ‘Save Our Sun’ committee for its decade of dedicated campaigning to save the pub and to provide a community hub for locals.

The Rising Sun has served as the main amenity in Woodcroft since the mid 19th century.

It was brewery-owned in 2011 when high rents and inflated beer costs caused its doors to close.

Despite the community being informed that it had been bought as a pub in late 2012, it had transpired that the new owners were developers who wanted to turn it into residential property.

This led to an epic community-led campaign to buy the pub. Started by a few locals in early 2013, the campaign finally reached fruition with the Rising Sun opening its doors again to the community in October 2022.

Within one month of the Community Share option being launched, £350,000 had been raised from 240 different investors.

The group were one of only two pubs in England to be successful in obtaining a grant from the Community Ownership Fund of £175,000.

And the volunteers’ efforts didn’t end there, with CAMRA explaining: “Once given the keys to the Rising Sun, the community then made a herculean effort to clean, repair and refurbish the pub.

“With an amazing team of local tradespeople, a volunteer project manager and more than 120 volunteers all pitching in, the doors of the Rising Sun could open once again.

“The pub is now the centre of its community and is well supported by old and young.

“It is fully accessible, dog friendly and serves great food and drink, as well as providing space for volunteer activities including a subsidised community coffee morning.”