A village pub has officially reopened exactly two years after it was left devastated by fire.

The Bell Inn at Parkham reopens on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, two years after it was gutted by fire. Picture: The Bell InnThe Bell Inn at Parkham reopens on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, two years after it was gutted by fire. Picture: The Bell Inn

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.

Long-time Parkham resident Betty Johns, 101, cut the ribbon to reopen The Bell Inn.Long-time Parkham resident Betty Johns, 101, cut the ribbon to reopen The Bell Inn.

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: “We're so pleased to have had Mrs Johns here to open it up. It's so nice to be back in here, everybody has been so supportive.

“I wasn't sure how many people would turn up but it has been great. There's still a lot to do but it's getting there.

“We started work four months ago, but now it feels like home.”

The Bell Inn's landlord and landlady Michael and Rachel Sanders.The Bell Inn's landlord and landlady Michael and Rachel Sanders.

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 didn't know if it was a fault or really happening. It stopped and then went off again and then we knew.

The Bell Inn at Parkham was devastated by the fire in February.The Bell Inn at Parkham was devastated by the fire in February.

“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.”

Fire fighters battled a major thatched roof blaze at the Bell Inn at Parkham in 2017. Picture: Tony GussinFire fighters battled a major thatched roof blaze at the Bell Inn at Parkham in 2017. Picture: Tony Gussin