BRITAIN’S first ever co-operatively owned pub celebrated 20 years in business last weekend, with a special day in which Chris Bonington opened the celebrations.

In 2003 The Old Crown at Hesket Newmarket, near Caldbeck, became the first cooperative-owned pub in England.

It has since paved the way for other communities determined not to lose their locals and provided a spot for celebrities and even royalty to visit when in the county.

In Cumbria: Opening day at The Old Crown, Hesket NewmarketOpening day at The Old Crown, Hesket Newmarket (Image: Supplied)

Pub goers and shareholders gathered almost to the day the pub opened, shareholders and locals will come together today, September 9 to toast to the Old Crown Inn.

Speeches were then heard from other pub goers and members of the team who have been involved since the start of the project.

Julian Ross, chairman of The Old Crown Cooperative, has been involved from the beginning and led the bid by customers to take ownership of the pub.

He said: “I don’t think we ever thought beyond next week, all of us keep thinking how can it be 20 years, how can that have happened? It’s unbelievable.

In Cumbria: The celebrations held to mark 20 years of the pub.The celebrations held to mark 20 years of the pub. (Image: Supplied)

“I feel proud that we have continued the legacy of the old crown, everybody that’s ever been in the old crown would still recognise it, I like that and just very pleased that we have given hope to other communities around the country.”

The last 20 years have been full of very happy memories, as well as some famous faces through the doors with King Charles visiting the pub back in 2004 and 2007 when he was the Prince of Wales.

Julian said: “We have famous popstars and tv personalities coming through to be honest the wonderful thing about the pub is nobody bats an eyelid; they can be just themselves.”