Village pub blessed by vicar

A PUB which was blessed by a village vicar is thought to be only the third pub in the country to have held such a ceremony.

Malcolm Kelsey, landlord of the Fox in Pirton, decided to pay a visit to Rvd James Robertson shortly before Christmas, upon reading about the practice in a trade magazine.

“There’s a lot of community spirit in the village already and I’m a Christian so it seemed like a good idea,” he told The Comet.

“We arranged a time and date. He came into the pub and introduced himself to those who didn’t know him and kept it all quite informal. He didn’t do anything overly religious, just some words about the importance of the village spirit, sharing and companionship. Then he, I and the 25 or so others in there raised our glasses to it.”

Mr Kelsey said the recent effort is part of a wider aim to give the pub its community feel back.

“When I took over six months ago, I wanted to give the pub back to the village,” he said. “It was turning into more of a restaurant – now it’s all about the community. At Halloween we had 50 odd kids in for a party even though it drove most of the adult regulars out.”

As a return favour, church groups run by Rvd Robertson may be held in the pub in the near future.

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“The vicar’s going to start holding discussion groups and meetings in one of our rooms,” added Mr Kelsey.

“People are sometimes a bit more comfortable with that sort of thing outside of a church, and we’re glad to help.”