A longstanding pub has closed its doors after a tearful farewell which saw locals turn out in force for its last night.

The Jolly Woodman served its last pint on Sunday, January 7 to a full house of loyal punters.

Mandy Wooley, 63, has been a member of staff at the pub for 26 years and said the pub "felt like family".

On the night of the closure, Mandy made an emotional speech. She said: "It is a sad time for us today. This is the last time that the pub will be open."

In the speech, Mandy thanked the manager of the Jolly Woodman, Eddie, saying "he has been a good boss over the years".

Speaking to the Observer, Mandy added: "The night was really emotional. It was packed all day.

"People were coming here for their last drink. I was in tears crying.

"It is an emotional time seeing a pub close down.

"I've worked here 26 years and I have seen little kids grow up - they are taller than me now.

"Customers become like family. This is like my second home over the years.

"We've seen good times and bad times. More good times than bad times though."

Kayleigh Willson, 24, had been working at the pub for five years and was with fellow staff members on the night of the closure.

"It was really sad saying goodbye to people," she said. 

"Customers become friends."

However, Kayleigh's time at the pub will live on in film, having been an extra in the most recent film to have used the historic pub as a backdrop.

Mandy said: "We have seen our fair share of famous faces:

"We have seen some good films done here. The Riot Club, Midsommer Murders, Outnumbered, Made in Manhattan.

"Just a few weeks ago we had 'The Perfect Couple' film here which will be on Netflix."

It is not yet known what will become of the pub, despite many rumours flying around about its future.

With another pub lost to the local community, it is believed many regulars will move on to the Blackwood Arms, which has agreed to take on some of the Jolly Woodman's staff. 

The closure of the Jolly Woodman was first announced in a Facebook statement on November 26.

The owners broke the news, writing: "It is with the deepest sadness that I have to inform you that the Jolly Woodman will close its doors for the last time as a public house on Sunday, January 7, 2024.

"Our landlords Global Taverns (who have been incredibly supportive to date) have decided to sell the freehold and the new owners have no intention of operating the Jolly Woodman as a public house.

"Whilst this news is devastating for everyone involved and especially our wonderful team, we will endeavour to give the pub a great send off with a bumper Christmas and we hope you will join us in putting a smile on everyone’s face and help create lasting memories."

The Jolly Woodman was the oldest pub in the area, having first believed to have been granted a license in 1832.