AN Ilminster pub is celebrating a successful relaunch last week after it was taken over by one of the town’s stalwarts.

Matt Sainsbury, who is involved in the Ilminster Lights Committee and the town’s annual Party on the Park event, reopened the pub on Friday.

The open weekend proved to be so successful for Matt that he ended up having to ask around other town hostelries for supplies to keep up with demand.

Mr Sainsbury has taken over the West Street premises with his partner, Sarah Downton and said they were delighted to be able to take the venue on.

He said: “A change in circumstances has left me with an exciting opportunity to take on the Crown Inn, with the intentions to get it back to being a central part of Ilminster’s social life.

“Alongside my partner Sarah we are excited about the opportunity. The pub has been through tough times but I hope to change that.”

This Friday will see the Crown Inn host a karaoke night, before a Christmas-themed quiz on December 17.

Christmas eve and New Year’s eve will see Matt and his new team putting on discos, and a family quiz afternoon with fun for all ages is set to take place on Boxing Day.

Friday featured a display from the town crier Andrew Fox and the vicar, with the latter blessing a pint of beer and the former declaring the ale fit for the people of Ilminster.

Mr Sainsbury added: “It went brilliantly. We were really busy and everything went down really well.

“It was a really positive start, and Saturday was busy again.”

Although his involvement will decrease due to the running of the pub, Matt is adamant that he will continue to help the community through events such as the Ilminster Victorian Evening and the Party on the Park.

He said: “I grew up in Ilminster, my parents did too, and I have always been in Ilminster.

“I always like to give a bit back to the town. I still want to be involved in those things.

“I will do special events for things like the lights switch on, and I am encouraging various groups to use the pub.”

Matt added that he using his first month at the helm to get an idea of the kind of things locals would like to see at the Crown Inn.

This includes canvassing opinion on a potential pub food menu to be provided in the new year.

A monthly theme night is also set to start in February, expected to include food and entertainment.