The keys to a village pub have been handed over to its new owners – the local community.

The Kings Arms at Shouldham has been saved from permanent closure and the new owners hope to re-open the doors in April.

Shouldham Community Enterprises was formed to buy the pub after it closed – and the concerted effort paid-off when the keys were given to the new owners on Friday.

Adverts are being placed for a chef and a manager to bring the pub back to life after it closed in 2012.

The Kings Arms is the first community-owned pub in West Norfolk and has been part of village life in Shouldham for 350 years.

Residents raised £150,000 towards the cost of buying the pub through the Save Our Kings Arms campaign.

Shares were sold far and wide to help raise the cash needed to secure the pub’s future.

The amount of money raised by the community was match-funded by the Social Investment Business (SIB).

Now the new owners are working hard to refurbish the pub in time for an April re-opening date.

“As well as the refurbishment, one of the most important tasks is to appoint a manager and chef who will provide a friendly welcome and great food, drink and service to all sections of our community,” said group secretary Phil Harriss.