A packed meeting saw a strong show of community support in the campaign to save a Dorset country pub - but a huge fundraising challenge lies ahead.

As reported, the last remaining pub in Broadwindsor, the White Lion, shut last May following the departure of the previous tenants.

A steering group made up of villagers has been working hard to bring it under community ownership - and on Tuesday night more than 100 people gathered at Comrades Hall, below, and via Zoom to hear the latest on the campaign.

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Project leaders remain optimistic and say the meeting at went 'extremely well,' with 80 people joining in-person and a further 50 tuning in online. They said there were lots of questions, lots of support and that it was a 'very positive' event.

But there is a mammoth task ahead; a total of £30,000 must be raised in just four weeks if the White Lion is to be saved.

The White Lion steering group is being spearheaded by parish councillor David Leader who is calling for the fundraiser to be shared as widely as possible.

"There is lots of support within the community but not we're not complacent," he said. "We urgently need to get the message out there - it's going to be a real challenge."

Community pubs are owned and run democratically by members of their community. They have an open and voluntary membership, giving members part ownership of the business.

If successful, the White Lion steering group will sign a tenancy agreement with building owners Palmers Brewery, Bridport on February 17 with the intention of refurbishing the pub and opening it in early spring 2022.

Previously they hoped to be open by Christmas 2021, but faced a setback due to the lengthy process of setting up a not-for-profit social enterprise.

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Mr Leader explained that the pub would be much more than just a place to meet friends over dinner and a pint. The plan is for community groups to meet there during the day - while the venue could also play a key role in combating rural isolation and loneliness.

"Anyone can walk into the pub and receive a warm welcome," he added. "You end up in conversation with people you would not otherwise meet. If the pub is lost, people will stay in their own comfort zones and not go beyond that.

"The great thing about a pub is that everybody rubs shoulders with everybody else - everybody will share a story and it builds that cohesive 'we're all together, we live in the same community'-type attitude. There's no social airs and graces - it is a social leveller."

To donate visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/save-the-white-lion-broadwindsor/ or to find out more and become a member of the campaign for £5 visit savethewhitelion.org