A couple who have fulfilled their lifelong dream of buying a village pub have finalised the purchase of the venue. 

Steve and Vicky Shirt had always dreamed of retiring to a village pub in their latter years – though neither of them thought they would be living out that dream quite so soon.

But after one particularly challenging day at work last March, Vicky decided to leave her job and start their dream early.

Vicky, who worked as a care coordinator, and Steve, who had his own 3D printing business, spent the next couple of months looking for their ideal pub and found The Plough Inn in County Durham.

The Northern Echo: The Plough Inn in County DurhamThe Plough Inn in County Durham (Image: HSBC)

It was being sold by a woman who was retiring after having had the premises in her family for 24 years.

The pub is more than 100 years old and serves the local village of Hutton Henry and frequent walkers passing through.

Co-owner Vicky said: “We started evaluating our lives during the pandemic – as so many of us did – and it was clear that neither of us were satisfied with our jobs anymore.

"Steve was always ready to take the leap, but I always felt it was better to finish our careers first.

"So, that day last March when I told Steve that I’d quit my job and did he wanted to buy a pub, I knew he wouldn’t take much convincing.

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She added: “As soon as we saw it, we just knew it was the one – and with support from HSBC UK, we managed to make the purchase.”

After successfully purchasing the property with a bank loan, the first-time pub owners packed up their lives in Blackpool and moved into the accommodation above the pub with their 10-year-old son, golden retriever and African grey parrot.

Vicky added: “We’ve been warmly welcomed by the local community who are thankful that the pub’s doors have remained open after the building changed hands.

"It has been a complete dream come true to be starting the life for ourselves that we’d always wanted - I haven’t stopped smiling since we got here.”