Former Keighley Cougars rugby player buys The Turkey Inn at Goose Eye and saves traditional pub from being turned into housing

Two accountants have saved a popular village pub from being turned into housing after buying the business during lockdown.

The Turkey Inn at Goose Eye, near Keighley

Former Keighley Cougars rugby league player Steve Mortimer and his partner Fay Howell are the new owners of The Turkey Inn near Oakworth - a traditional hostelry which was run by the Mortimer family until the 1930s.

The Turkey, which is located in the distinctively-named hamlet of Goose Eye, has been closed for the past 15 months, and locals campaigned to save it from being sold off for housing development.

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Though supporters raised £60,000, it was not enough for a community buy-out until Steve and Fay made an offer themselves, pledging that The Turkey would remain as a pub.

The new owners are former Keighley Cougars player Steve Mortimer and his partner Fay Howell

The couple live just 500 metres away and were regular customers until it shut in March 2020 - with Fay admitting that she wanted to buy it the first time she ever visited.

Steve said: “When the pub came onto the market a number of people mentioned we should look to purchase it. The Turkey Inn is our local and has always been our stop at the end of a good walk and the go-to dining spot on a weekday evening if we didn't feel like cooking. Being dog and muddy boot-friendly was always a bonus after a walk in the woods, or a fishing afternoon at the nearby Teapot Dam.

“Lots of people thought we were mad buying a closed pub during a national pandemic, but it felt right and now we’re finally able to open!”

"We’re excited about the future and are keen to take The Turkey Inn back to its roots, making it a traditional, country pub with roaring fires, a cracking Sunday roast as well as a spot to get home cooked mid-week meals.

They have kept the pub's traditional interior

"We’ve kept all the traditional Turkey Inn features as well as adding some fresh ideas too, we’ve invested a lot of money into renovating and redecorating the pub to create an atmosphere for customers to enjoy.

“We want the Turkey Inn to be known for great food and local beer in a warm and welcoming environment. We want to embed the pub firmly back into the heart of the Goose Eye community. We will be doing everything we can to keep customers and staff safe while enjoying a pint or a meal in a relaxed dining environment. The layout of the pub lends itself well to the current situation, with lots of separate areas for tables - we’ll be using the space to give diners lots of room”.