Sunday, 26 September 2021

Landlords bid fond farewell to pub

RESIDENTS of Rotherfield Greys have paid tribute to the departing landlords of the village pub.

RESIDENTS of Rotherfield Greys have paid tribute to the departing landlords of the village pub.

About 90 people attended a party at the village hall on Sunday to say goodbye to Peter and Helen Bland.

The couple, both 47, ran the Maltsters Arms for 17 years but left last month to go travelling for five months before moving to Torquay to run a bed and breakfast.

Rae Ward, chairman of the Rotherfield Greys village hall management committee, organised the event after it was suggested by former parish councillor Sue Fulford-Dobson.

Mrs Ward, who has lived in the village for 38 years, said: ?They have been a huge part of life in the village and they have done much more than was needed.

?Whenever there has been a jubilee or a royal wedding, any excuse for a party, they have been a huge part of it. They would help with the village fete. Peter has had buckets of water thrown at him in the stocks and they would always give a free meal at the pub as a raffle prize.

?They have been a focal point for the village along with the church. I have been to funerals for lots of friends and the wake would always be at the Maltsters.

?Whenever there was a wedding the families tended to have breakfast there. We will miss them enormously not just because they ran the village pub but they have become friends.?

The Blands left on Monday and plan to travel across Europe and to visit Australia and Thailand.

Mr Bland said they were looking forward to settling down in Torquay.

?It?s a completely new start,? he said. ?I?m sure we will have Henley people coming to see us.? Meanwhile, the new landlords of the Maltsters Arms say they hope to be as successful as their predecessors.

George Thomas and Calum Miller, both 26, have taken over the Breakspear pub.

Mr Thomas, who lives at the pub with his wife Sarah, said: ?If you get almost 100 people coming to your leaving party you have done a good job and made a good living.

?If we can be here as long as 17 years it would be amazing and if we can be that successful it would be perfect.?

Mr Miller, who grew up in Benson, and Mr Thomas, who grew up in Waltham St Lawrence, first met when they worked at the Little Angel pub in Henley.

Mr Thomas, who used to manage the Unicorn pub in Peppard, said: ?I?ve worked in pubs all my life. My first job was washing dishes when I was 14. Both my parents and grandparents ran pubs when they were in their early twenties and then moved on to other things.

?Calum and I got in touch with Brakspear in November to register our interest in running a pub.?

The pair chose the Maltsters Arms because of its proximity to Henley and its popularity.

Mr Thomas said: ?The pub fitted the criteria of what we were looking for in terms of covers and a big bar area. Often the restaurant in pubs is too big but the drinking area here is a nice size. We?re not going down the restaurant route. We?re not going to do gastro or bistro food, but proper pub food.

?There is a big enough living space for me and my wife and Calum and his girlfriend Carolyn to not be in each other?s way. With a pub you expect to be there. It?s part of the lifestyle to live in.?

Mr Thomas thanked Brakspear for helping them find the pub, saying: ?They have been brilliant.?

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