A North East pub has gone viral for its impressive Christmas decorations, which have lit up a quaint village ahead of the festive season. 

Sean Drinkel, the owner of the White Hart Inn, in Hart Village, Hartlepool, explained that he opened the pub in 2020, only 8 weeks before lockdowns shut the hospitality industry down and threw businesses into uncertainty. 

But despite the economic precariousness on the horizon, Sean has decided to go all in on Christmas this year, with the aim of cheering up the village. 

He has decked the pub in thousands of lights, baubles, and life-size decorations - to the delight of village residents and social media users alike. 

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Sean explained: "I love Christmas, so I've decorated to cheer up the village and to cheer up myself. I really didn't think it would go so far, but we have people from all over leaving us comments on Facebook and popping into the pub to see for themselves." 

Video courtesy of Jamie Kenley 

"We turn all the lights on even when the pub is not open - so that people can enjoy our decorations all the time. We have people saying that it makes them smile on their drive to work in the morning."

For village residents, the pub decorations have been a brightening force - with people saying that the pub is "putting the magic into Christmas", and that it "looks like something from a TV show."

The pub has struggled recently. Sean said: "It has been a terrible couple of years for us and the whole of the hospitality industry has been hit really hard."

With the cost of living crisis, and people already tightening their belts ahead of what is set to be an incredibly difficult winter, Sean says he "does not know where we will be in April". 

When Sean took over the pub, it was really run down, and he had to commit to fully renovating the venue, changing "a hell of a lot". 

Sean said: "Every penny that has been made - or hasn't been made - has gone straight back into the pub."

Even when it comes to the Christmas decorations, Sean and the team have invested a huge amount of time, effort and money into the extravaganza.

The Northern Echo: The community pub has decorated extensively for the holidays. The community pub has decorated extensively for the holidays. (Image: Sean Drinkel)

Sean does not know how much he has spent so far - but says it has all been worth it to bring smiles to people's faces. The display has been put together by TCL Homes and Interiors - who have been "fantastic". 

A local charity has even gotten in on the action - Feeding Families, a Blaydon-based foundation that supports families facing food poverty in the North East, has set up a collection point in the pub. 

This means that clients who want to show their appreciation for all of Sean's work can pass on their joy by donating food and money to the charity via the pub.

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The Northern Echo: The outside of the pub has been decked out in thousands of lights and baubles.The outside of the pub has been decked out in thousands of lights and baubles. (Image: Sean Drinkel)

Sean said: "When I saw how popular the display had become, I thought why not make something good out of it - so we set up a money tin and collection box.  If anyone has anything to spare, it could be really useful!"

Feeding families has multiple food initiatives, including a Christmas hamper scheme, helping struggling families enjoy the festivities. Last year, the charity was able to give away over 9,000 Christmas food hampers. 

Sean has also asked for the public's patience - with how popular the decorations have become, the pub is busier than ever. 

He said: "We've been so busy it is slowing everything down, and we've started to book up well in advance. We're only a small pub with 48 seats - so people have to be patient with us!"

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