A VOLUNTEER who led efforts to restore and refurbish a village pub – despite the Covid-19 pandemic – has been recognised with a national award.

Ted Euers led a project to renovate and reopen Ye Old Cross pub, in Ryton, near Gateshead, which became the first in the area owned by the community, after more than 300 locals raised £150,000 to stop it closing.

The pub shut in 2018 but was reopened last year by Friends of Ye Olde Cross.

Now Ted has been recognised by national charity the Plunkett Foundation with its Community Contribution Award, sponsored by the Hastoe Group.

He supported the pub’s tenants to access the government grants and loans during a stressful time for them and helped secure grants so the pub could be Covid-19 secure.

In the last year around 2,000 volunteer hours have been put into improvement work on the pub, much of which has happened since the pandemic outbreak.

Mr Euers has been called the ‘glue’ holding Ryton Cross Community Society’s committee together.

He said: “I’m honoured to have received this award given how fantastic community volunteers and businesses have been during the pandemic.

"In particular the community-owned pub sector has really stepped up and I see this award as an acknowledgement of all the fantastic people who are involved in creating and maintaining community-owned pubs around the country.

"Please visit Ye Olde Cross in Ryton whenever you can.”

The Community Contribution Award recognises the efforts of an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty during the recent months of lockdown, in order to support their communities.

Plunkett helps communities tackle challenges such as social isolation, employment and poverty by supporting enterprises – including shops, pubs, bakeries, farms and woodlands - that are owned and run democratically by members of the community.

James Alcock, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “I am delighted to recognise the huge contribution Ted has given to the Ryton community with this award, and the inspiration his example is to others across the community business sector.

"These have been extraordinary times, and they have called for extraordinary people with extraordinary amounts of community spirit. Ted is one of those people, and I congratulate him on this award and thank him for truly going above and beyond the call of duty.”

Since 2013 Plunkett has been recognising community businesses with their annual awards. This year the awards feature just one category and the winner will be announced at the Virtual Community Business Fete on 24 November.

Ulrike Maccariello, Development Director for Hastoe Housing Association, said: “We are thrilled to see the efforts of Ted, and all the nominees, being celebrated by the Plunkett Foundation’s Community Contribution Awards.

"As a rural housing provider who puts communities at the heart of what we do, Hastoe was honoured to sponsor this award and recognise the hard work and dedication local people across the country have put into helping their neighbours through the pandemic.”