The Bell Inn in Parkham held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon (Wednesday) to officially mark its rising from the ashes. On February 13, 2017 a fire swept through the grade II-listed 13th century pub, completely destroying its thatched roof. Cutting the ribbon was 101-year-old Betty Johns, who has lived opposite the pub for most of her life since moving to Parkham in 1934 at the age of 16. Mrs Johns said she hoped the village pub would continue for years to come as she cut the ribbon. Landlord and landlady Michael and Rachel Sanders felt Mrs Johns was the perfect person to reopen the pub where she was once the cleaner and a pasty maker. Rachel said: Were so pleased to have had Mrs Johns here to open it up. Its so nice to be back in here, everybody has been so supportive. I wasnt sure how many people would turn up but it has been great. Theres still a lot to do but its getting there. We started work four months ago, but now it feels like home. Michael and Rachel have worked closely with English Heritage to rebuild the listed pub, maintaining its period charms as well as introducing some new features. New toilets and equipment including refrigerators was made possible thanks to European Leader 5 funding. The 2017 blaze saw 80 fire fighters battle to douse the flames while saving much of the furniture, fittings and pictures from the walls. All of which have been reused in bringing the pub back to life. Rachel added: This morning it would have been two years ago that everything was going on. I remember the alarm went off at 8am and we didnt know if it was a fault or really happening. It stopped and then went off again and then we knew. You look back and wonder if you could have done anything differently, maybe got some more clothes or something, but then we might not have been here today.