AFTER winning millions on the National Lottery, John and Ashlie Chapman set about rescuing a shut village club that had featured so largely in their lives.

The couple, from Easington, east Durham, won £2.1m in November, 1998.

After buying a home in the village, they went to Disneyland for a film star wedding complete with a glass coach.

But a life of leisure soon proved boring for the fun-loving couple, who have two sons, Brett, eight, and Tyler, six.

While driving past the shut Royal British Legion Club, in Easington, they came up with the idea of buying the premises and transforming it into a pub.

"The club meant a lot to my family, my parents, Doreen and the late Cliffy Price, had their wedding reception there, my son, Brett's christening was held there and my dad's funeral was also held in the club,'' said Mrs Chapman.

Mr Price was a long-standing committee member of the Legion Club before it shut down in October, 1999. Both Mrs Price and Mrs Chapman had worked behind the bar.

"It was also a place where we met up with all our friends, and it seemed the perfect chance to open it up again,'' said Mrs Chapman.

Yesterday evening, the aptly named Cliffy's Pub opened once again with a celebratory night.

"It has been a lot of hard work. We have decorated from top to bottom, put in a new kitchen, toilets and carpeted it, but it's great to see the building back in action,'' said Mrs Chapman. Despite still having plenty in the bank, the couple have decided to run Cliffy's themselves.

"I worked behind the bar when it was the Legion Club and John and I are looking forward to being mine hosts,'' said Mrs Chapman.

The couple toasted their new customers last night and hope they will soon become regulars of the new pub.