This is a copy of the press release that Heineken have sent out about our success in last nights awards.
LOCAL RESIDENT RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR REVIVAL OF FORSBROOK PUB
The licensee of The Roebuck at Forsbrook has received a prestigious national Newcomer of the Year Award from Star Pubs & Bars for his success in transforming the previously little-used pub into a thriving hub of the community.
Stoke born-and-bred Paul Collins had his first ever pint at the pub aged 18 and became a life long customer. On retirement from his gas delivery business, Paul began helping out at The Roebuck to keep busy. When the licensee left, regulars – who were concerned for The Roebuck’s future – appealed to Paul to take it on.
Since taking the helm in summer 2017, 61-year-old Paul has invested £40,000 into the pub and transformed its fortunes, winning back former customers and attracting residents who had never been in before, including senior citizens and many more women.
The judges were bowled over by Paul’s achievements calling them “nothing short of amazing” for a person with no previous experience of running a pub. In just eighteen months Paul has redecorated the inside and created a stunning all-weather garden complete with an outside bar, wood-fired pizza oven and a stage. With no café in the village, Paul has added a tearoom above the pub, which provides a popular meeting place for the village’s senior citizens.
Under Paul’s stewardship, the pub has become a focal point of Forsbrook life. The Roebuck hosts a myriad of activities to bring people together from quiz, film and music nights to bingo and a senior citizen’s ‘Seventy to Plenty Club’. The judges noted how The Roebuck helps the village mark significant occasions too. It recognised Remembrance Day in Forsbrook with a bugler sounding the Last Post at commemorative gates commissioned by Paul to honour fallen soldiers at The Roebuck. And, at Christmas, there was carol singing and a visit from Santa.
The judges also commended Paul and the customers for The Roebuck’s fundraising, which has already donated in the region of £10,000 to different charities over the years such as Douglas Macmillan Hospice and The Donna Louise children’s hospice. Amongst other initiatives, Paul led the drive to raise £2,500 to fund a village defibrillator – now installed at The Roebuck – and the pub has raised £4,500 for the British Legion over the past few years.
Paul was presented with his award by actor, comedian and presenter Joel Dommett at a gala ceremony at the five-star Luton Hoo hotel in Bedfordshire.
Says Paul: “I’d retired and didn’t plan to take over my local but half way through my first bar shift I realised I loved it. Seeing people enjoy themselves, makes me happy; I wish I’d done this 30 years ago. I never in my wildest dreams imagined The Roebuck could be so successful. It has been a team effort with the village and the customers, so this award is for them too. They get on board with everything we try and are incredibly generous in donating to good causes.”
Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars managing director: “We were blown away by The Roebuck and Paul’s talent, energy and passion for the job. The Roebuck is an outstanding pub with a brilliant atmosphere where customers are assured of a warm welcome, some great craic and a laugh as well as extremely good food and drink. It’s all down to Paul. It’s a remarkable accomplishment for somebody new to the industry.”