A MOTHER and daughter who ran one of the country's first community-owned pubs are stepping down due to ill health.

Margaret and Jackie Stubbs took over the George and Dragon pub in 2010 after it was saved from closure by a community co-operative which raised more than £220,000.

The co-operative aimed to make the pub accessible to everyone in the village and it features a library, allotments and internet access, as well as traditional pub activities.

Under the leadership of Mrs and Ms Stubbs the pub has held communities events including a successful Melodies in the Meadow summer festival, Scarecrow competitions, various clubs, and raised cash for many charities.

Jackie Stubbs said: “We are devastated to be leaving the George and Dragon.

“It was always my dream to run a pub but unfortunately I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago, and being a workaholic and moving at 100 miles per hour is not good for my condition.

“I have through long and hard about it – it certainly was not an easy decision but I need to put my health first now.

“If I can’t give 100 per cent I am not happy so would not be able to run the pub the way I would want to.”

Martin Booth, Hudswell Community Pub board member, said it would be a hard task to follow the women.

He said: “It’s very sad to see them go because they have both been fantastic tenants and have really grown the business from nothing to being very successful.

“They have put the George and Dragon back on the map.”

The co-operative has more than 200 members and there is a committee of ten board members.

The pub featured on popular ITV show The Dales in 2011. 

Mr Booth said: “This is our first big test but that was the whole point of the community buying the pub – we now know it is still safe and will not have to be closed again.

“It is more than just a pub – it’s the shop, library, allotment, and venue for local events – so we need to get the right people to take over.”

Ms Stubbs added: “I have said I’m happy to be on-hand for the first couple of months when the new tenants arrive to make sure they settle in and learn the ropes.

“And we want to thank everybody for their support over the last four years.”