A country pub near Shrewsbury which has undergone a major refurbishment is opening this month – with the help of a “local hero”.

The Riverside Inn, in Cound, is opening on Monday, August 16, and has been transformed during a seven-figure investment programme – creating a stunning outdoor seating area alongside the River Severn, along with hotel rooms and conservatory restaurant.

In the months leading up to its opening date, the pub issued a call for people to nominate a “local hero” who could officially open the pub and be treated to a complimentary meal.

General manager at the Riverside Inn, Chris Kendall, said they received dozens of heartfelt nominations and choosing one was extremely difficult.

But after lots of deliberation, David Rawlings, a hard-working member of Cound Tennis Club for some 45 years, has been chosen as the Riverside Inn’s local hero.

Chris said: “We were blown away by the number of entries we had, and the wonderful stories connected with so many worthy members of the local community in this part of Shropshire.

“We chose David because it’s clear just how much he means to people in Cound and the surrounding area. The tennis club is at the heart of the village and David has worked tirelessly to grow the club and help it to thrive.

“He has volunteered countless hours to maintain the courts, organise events and matches, helping to encourage people both young and old to take up tennis.

“David is certainly very worthy of the title of our Local Hero and we are absolutely delighted he has agreed to officially open the Riverside Inn on Monday, August 16.

“We are looking forward to welcoming him and treating him to a complimentary meal and drinks as a small token of thanks for what he has done for this community over so many years.”

Mr Rawlings said he was delighted and shocked to discover he had been nominated as a local hero and was looking forward to Monday’s opening.

“I’ve been involved with the tennis club since we moved to the area in 1976, as a past manager, captain, treasurer, groundsman – the whole lot, really, and have thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said.

“I started off with some coaching and then captained the first side we produced. Then, as the club got bigger we needed more courts and raised about £45,000 among the membership – an amazing amount at the time. They cost just under £100,000 in the end, we also had to install electricity and put in floodlights.

“I undertook to do a lot of the maintenance on the courts and have worked on them ever since. We are lucky in having club members who help out and have a very active committee. The club is completely solvent, we have four very nice courts – all floodlit – and a growing membership!”

For more information, follow the Riverside Inn on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RiversideatCound or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/RiversideinnCound