A COUPLE have reopened a popular pub in Purbeck more than three years after it closed.

Melissa Beresford, 39, and her husband Brendon, 37, reopened The Fox Inn in Corfe Castle during the August bank holiday weekend.

The pub, which is believed to be the oldest in Corfe Castle, has been refurbished by local tradespeople to its former glory after it closed three-and-a-half years ago when the previous owners retired.

Melissa’s parents had their honeymoon in Corfe and moved down to the area around 23 years ago.

It was only when Melissa’s mum passed in January that Melissa and Brendon, who had been living in the New Forest, decided to move to Corfe Castle and be near their family.

Melissa said: “I worked in pubs when I was at university and worked in a pub for about five years and I went off and I’m a teacher and my husband’s family work in pubs and he used to support them, he used to work as a bar manager and he worked as a chef.

“He joined the police and he’s been in the police force for at least 16 years and often would go and help his family as well so when this came available we decided that we would make the move.”

Melissa will continue to teach during the week and will help Brendon with running the pub on weekends and in school holidays.

Melissa said: “It was busy, very busy here on the opening night we had a lot of locals come in, my parent’s family, friends all came in as well as other locals and tourists and it was really busy, which was nice squeezing past all the tables, squeezing past people, it was really good. A really nice atmosphere.

“They all seem to be really pleased, it was very much a locals pub, it’s always been a locals pub and I think the locals have been quite pleased to see it reopen again and we haven’t changed it too much.”

The couple have added a few new furnishings but were keen the pub’s original character was retained. They've even kept the original fireplace which comes from the castle itself.

Melissa added: “We’ve always looked at doing something like running a pub or a B&B, something in that sort of industry, but obviously because I’ve got quite a connection with this pub, through my family and in fact I had my 21st birthday in here, the owners came to our wedding, so when it came on the market it was the one.”