THE owners of a pub renovated during the height of lockdown last week welcomed Central Devon MP Mel Stride to discuss their upcoming Summer Garden Party.

James Houghton, and Gary and Julie Roberts, who bought the Kestor Inn at Manaton in October 2019, just months before the start of the devastating Covid pandemic, met Mr Stride for the first time since they took over the establishment.

Gary explained how they had taken the opportunity during lockdown closures to renovate the premises and thanked the government for providing financial support to help keep the pub afloat during those crucial months.

‘It was great to welcome Mel to the Kestor Inn to discuss some of the issues facing the industry,’ he said.

Despite huge pressures facing the pub industry, particularly due to high energy prices, the pub is thriving thanks to their extensive menu of traditional, fresh, home-cooked food and great range of cask ales, draught lagers, wines and spirits.

Their accommodation – five comfy letting rooms plus a self-catering apartment – is also proving popular.

Mr Stride, who is also Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was equally effusive about the pub, noting how much it had improved since his previous visit.

He said: ‘The Kestor Inn has been completely transformed since I was last here. I am delighted that the pub is doing so well – a testament to the hard work that Gary, Julie, James and their staff put in every day.’

The Summer Garden Party, on August 28, 2pm-5pm, will include live music and a barbecue, with funds raised going towards Manaton Parish Hall and St Winifred’s Church..