A POPULAR village pub which had been brought back to life after being boarded up for several years has closed.

The Tuns at Sadberge, near Darlington, has been sold by owner Ross Serino.

Mr Serino bought the derelict venue more than eight years ago and turned it into a thriving business.

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He said he had made the decision to sell up following the death of his father, Vince, who was well known in the hospitality business for running Yarm establishment Santoro.

He said:  “Eight years, when I say it out loud I can’t quite believe it, maybe it’s because we did so much in those eight years, catered for so many people shared in special occasions, made so many friends, had so much fun.

“When we opened over eight years ago I had no idea how to run a pub. Restaurants I knew, after working in the family business Santoro’s for many years. I always replicated my dad's persona and that of his Maître’D Gianni Dorsi. I was well versed in how to look after customers, create a good atmosphere and served good food. I had learned from the best.

“The pub part would be somewhat ‘learn as we go’, evolve and grow and listen to our customers. I’d like to think we mastered it by the end. I am very proud of what we built.”

When he took over The Tuns, which at one time the village courthouse, it has been closed and boarded up for some time and was need of a substantial renovation to reopen.

Mr Serino said: “When I bought the pub it wasn’t particularly appealing.

“It had been closed for some time and consequently had boarded up windows and doors, inside there was extremely dated decor, if you could call it decor but I could see past all that, there was a feeling, something nice and cosy, the size was just right for my first business.”

He added: “At that time pubs were in a major decline there were many for sale and no one had been investing in them for years, so although a big gamble there was a deal to be had if you were able to put in the capital and the time to build a business from scratch.”

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Mr Serino is taking a well-earned holiday with his family and said he would see what “pops up” in the future.

Thanking his customers, he added: “Over the years we have met so many incredible people, customers who became friends, I couldn’t have don’t it without them, they helped create the atmosphere at The Tuns on a daily basis.

“It is thanks to them and our dedicated staff that The Tuns thrived and lasted as long as it did.

“You only need to read the comments on our Facebook to realise how big of an impact we had on people’s lives.

“This certainly isn’t a goodbye to them because I’ll be seeing them again I’m sure, maybe just in a different setting.”

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The Tuns has been purchased and is set to reopen under new ownership following a refurbishment.

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