THOUSANDS turned out to celebrate the re-opening of the historic Fleece Inn at Bretforton.

The timber-framed National Trust pub was gutted by a fire that broke out on the roof of the building in February last year.

As the flames took hold villagers and staff worked together to rescue the pub's contents, including one of the country's largest collections of pewter plate.

Since the fire the pub has continued to serve the village with a bar set up in a nearby barn.

At the party to celebrate the opening of the restored Fleece on Saturday, visitors were able to view the results of the 14-month restoration project.

Landlord Nigel Smith said the event was about saying thank you to everyone who had supported the pub throughout the restoration period. The day featured dancing from village children, the Pebworth Morris Men and Belle d'Vain Ladies along with music from Bretforton Silver Band, Fret and Fiddle and King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys. Other attractions included fairground rides, vintage vehicles, circus performers and the Hook Norton brewery dray and horses.

"It was a totally fantastic success," said Mr Smith. "We had the numbers we expected and more - certainly thousands throughout the day and a wonderful atmosphere."

The Fleece, which is a 14th century building, became a pub in 1848 and has changed little since. Among its unique features are concentric rings marked on the floor of the fireplace, which are believed to protect the building from witches.

The pub will be the venue for a number of other events this summer, including an inaugural performance by a new big band, set up by John Woods, the conductor of the village silver band. The new band will be one of the highlights of a 1940s evening on August 13.