A DETERMINED couple are refusing to be beaten by floods in their bid to reopen a village inn.

Robbie Stewart and his wife Kelly had initially hoped start pulling pints at the Bridge Inn, Whorlton, near Barnard Castle, in the early autumn, but their plans were scuppered when the pub was hit by floods in July.

And despite the cellar being inundated again during this week's deluge, the couple are determined they will be behind the bar welcoming guests on the rescheduled opening day, Thursday, December 6.

Mr Stewart said: “In July, because the pub had been standing empty, it was seriously flooded, so much so the floor had to be ripped out.

“This time, because we were in and the pub was occupied, we managed to catch the water as soon as it started to come in.”

Mr Stewart said: “It is quite demoralising. We had to wait for months for the place to be ready for us to move in after July's floods.

“We wanted to open in early autumn. The worst time to open a pub and tea room is at the beginning of December.”

The 37-year-old has worked in the licensing trade since he was 18. Most recently, he and his wife, 36, who is from Toft Hill, near Bishop Auckland, ran a pub in Runswick Bay, on the Yorkshire coast.

They also plan to use part of the pub as a village shop stocking essentials – a service not available elsewhere in Whorlton.

David Kinch, chairman of Whorlton Parish Council, said: “I think using part of the pub as a small shop is a very good idea and very community-minded of Robbie and Kelly. I take my hat off to them.”