After a very uncertain few weeks, staff at The Green Dragon and The Stag in Flackwell Heath have officially saved the two much-loved community pubs from closure.

Emma Jamieson, 35, manager of The Stag, was caught off guard alongside her fellow local colleagues when their landlord, who also owned pubs The Green Dragon and The Three Horseshoes, told them he had decided to cease trading, effective almost immediately.

Their first reaction was “devastation” at the loss of what had become an important community asset and hub for Flackwell Heath events and get-togethers.

Their second, especially on the part of Emma and head chef Charlie Himi, was to figure out how they could assume ownership themselves and save their beloved locals from the axe.

Bucks Free Press:

After a false start – with financial issues linked to the previous tenancy proving to be more of an obstacle than was first thought – the pair have now managed to sign a contract and take the helm of two out of the three closed pubs and are looking ahead to an “exciting” future.

The whirlwind closure and reopening of The Green Dragon and The Stag – the former of which welcomed customers back yesterday, May 23, with the latter doing the same next Wednesday, May 29 – has meant less obvious change to the pub interiors than Emma would have liked, but she has big plans down the line to consolidate their position as central to the village community.

Bucks Free Press:

READ MORE: Popular Lebanese restaurant up for sale as owners 'move onto other business ventures'

“We’re over the moon – the main concern was about people’s homes. Some of us live in the pubs, so when their future was in doubt, there was a real risk of having no place to go.

“It’s going to be great owning these pubs as the staff. We’re all local and we know a lot of people personally, so I think it’s going to become even more close-knit with the community.

“We’ve got a new manager in The Stag, Laura, and we’re planning to do lots of different events, like coffee mornings, painting sessions, and whatever people want us to.

Bucks Free Press:

“There were times before when I’d ask the management if we could do this or that, and they would turn it down. Now we can do what we want – it’s exciting.”

Besides the “lick of paint” that Emma and co have managed to add to The Stag amid all the uncertainty, pubgoers can expect a new summer menu when it reopens its doors next week.

Bucks Free Press:

There are also plans for a ‘welcome back’ party on Friday, May 31, with a DJ, dancing and more. After the gratifyingly “passionate” support locally and from further afield, and hard work of the staff to save the two pubs, it’s a celebration that’s definitely well deserved.