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Popular village pub bucks trend to serve customers again

Sylvia Cowan behind the bar at the newly re-opened Queen Inn at Great Corby.

A popular village pub is bucking the trend of closures and serving locals and visitors again after re-opening in time for Christmas.

The Queen Inn at Great Corby, east of Carlisle, opened its doors again this week after closing in the summer. The pub in the centre of the village has been taken over by Robert and Sylvia Cowan and business partners David and Roweena Corkill.

They only got the keys last month and it’s been a mad dash to refurbish, recruit staff and get everything in place in time for the busy festive period.

The Queen Inn’s newly renovated lounge decorated for Christmas.

Major changes include revamping the upstairs restaurant and making it into one dining room, re-decorating the lounge area and fresh touches to the rest of the pub.

Ahead of the official re-opening, villagers were invited to go along and ‘try out’ their local with an evening of free drinks and snacks.

The re-opening comes against a background of continued closures of pubs in towns and villages across the UK. About 13,000 shut between 2001 and 2018, with the industry blaming factors including high business rates, cheap supermarket alcohol, the rising minimum wage, the smoking ban and changing social habits.

According to government statistics while the rate of decline has slowed recently, 235 disappeared during the first half of this year, or nearly 40 a month.

The Corkills and Cowans have faith that people still value a good night out and quality food and drink.

As well as running The Queen Inn, they are re-building the Golden Fleece at Ruleholme, near Brampton. That property, with 23 bedrooms, two restaurants, lounge bar, a function room and conference facilities, is set to open in spring 2021.

Robert said: “The reaction from Great Corby and the surrounding area has been fantastic. We’re hoping we can count on people’s continued support so this becomes the kind of pub everyone wants in their village.

“We’re serving good beers and tasty food in a warm, welcoming environment but we’re also a meeting place for those wanting a coffee and somewhere to relax.”

On Facebook, customer Gill Bruce said: “Lovely to meet our new publicans and staff. Some little tweaks have made the rooms cosy and more user friendly, it’s going to be busy in there!”

The pub is open seven days a week from 11am serving bar meals, with the restaurant open from 5pm.

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