A PUB near Ilminster opened for the first time in over a year this May.

The George at Donyatt closed on March 17 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic stayed closed to keep everyone safe.

Helen Calvert and Steven Faulkner, owners of the pub, used the time to spring clean and revamp the entire building.

When the pub could re-open last year, they decided not to, as Steven has COPD.

So staff at the pub agreed to stay closed to make sure he was able to shield.

But now the pub has re-opened and been refurbished.

The parquet flooring in the bar has been sanded and re-varnished and all the walls have been re-painted.

Chard & Ilminster News: George Inn at Donyatt ; Steve Faulkner and Helen Calvert

“We also have three bed and breakfast rooms which have all been refreshed and they look absolutely lovely,” said Helen.

“We have a patio area outside and have got new garden furniture coming. We’ve put in new flowers and the area is absolutely stunning.

“It was very peculiar not being open as I am used to talking to people everyday, but it had to be done to keep everyone safe - including Steven.

“We decided it was the best thing to do and we did what we could do with the savings we had.

“I am so grateful to the vaccine as Steven managed to get vaccinated in January and wanted to open straight away - but of course, we couldn’t open until May.

“We’ve been rather overwhelmed with the support, but it is a bit sporadic as people still don’t know we are open.

“We’re getting a lot of new people who have moved into the area during lockdown and all our neighbours are so supportive.

“It is so nice people are still coming back to us even after all this time.

“We’re looking forward to staying open and everyone coming back to some sort of resemblance of normal life, so we can socialize and see other people again.”

Chard & Ilminster News: George Inn at Donyatt ; Steve Faulkner and Helen Calvert

Sonia, office manager at the pub, said they are working hard to adhere to the rules.

“Our clients are mature and a lot of them are coming in and saying they haven’t been out since March,” she added.

“They are really excited and it is lovely to hear them come back and say ‘it is lovely to see you’ve opened again’.

“We’re happy to see everyone else is happy.”

The George at Donyatt is open from 12 noon on Wednesdays until 5pm on Sunday.

To find out more visit georgeatdonyatt.co.uk.