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Popular Norwich landlord calls time on his pub career

PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:15 10 August 2015

Chris Higgins, left, calls time on running The Trafford Arms pub. Pictured with new landlord Nick De'Ath.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chris Higgins, left, calls time on running The Trafford Arms pub. Pictured with new landlord Nick De'Ath. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

For more than two decades he has been a firm fixture behind the bar of one of the city’s best loved pubs, but regulars will soon be raising a toast to landlord Chris Higgins, who has called time.

Mr Higgins and his wife, Glynis, have helped make the Trafford Arms a real focal point in the community over the past 23 years but will be bidding farewell to their loyal locals next month as they retire to spend more time with their family.

Mr Higgins, 60, who has been in the licensing trade for more than 40 years, said: “We’ve had a wonderful time here. It’s almost like we set out to become a community pub, and we’ve become the hub of the local community.

“We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve lived in a lovely part of Norwich and we’ve been blessed with some fantastic customers.”

Mr Higgins, who admitted he “couldn’t have done it without Glynis and her support” or a “fantastic team of staff”, said he would have mixed emotions come September 7 when they leave.

He said: “We’ve lived and breathed it for 23 years – it will be very strange.”

The couple, who have just become grandparents for the second time, hope to be able to spend more time with family, including with Mr Higgins’s elderly mother.

Mr Higgins, who hails from Macclesfield, was Norwich’s sheriff in 2011-12 and is interested in becoming a Blue Badge Guide in the future.

“I would like to share my love of this wonderful city with visitors and tourists,” he said.

Reflecting on his time at the helm of the pub, Mr Higgins said the single biggest change was probably not the change in licensing laws and the advent of 24-hour drinking but the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007. He said: “We’ve gone from a smoke-filled environment to an extremely clean and healthy environment. I would never have imagined in my 40 years in this industry that we would have no smoking in the pub.”

In increasingly difficult times for the industry, Mr Higgins said pubs had to work harder to “make people want to come in”, but he has no fears about the continued popularity of the Trafford, which will be taken over by Nick De’Ath, who counts the Unthank Arms and the Lawyer among his other businesses.

He said: “I know Nick has got the same ethos and attitude to customers as we have and I know they will be looked after. He’s an exceptionally nice guy. We’re handing the baton to what I consider to be a fantastic member of the relay team.”

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