Farewell party marks the end of an era for Norwich pub

Retirement party for landlord Chris Higgins and his wife Glynis.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Retirement party for landlord Chris Higgins and his wife Glynis.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Regulars at a popular city pub turned out in huge numbers for a special street party to say an emotional farewell to a much-loved couple who have called time on their careers after more than 20 years.

Chris Higgins and his wife, Glynis, have helped make the Trafford Arms a real focal point in the community over the past 23 years and were the centre of attention at a special farewell party on Saturday to mark their retirement from the pub.

There was live music, face painting and a Woodforde's brewery dray at the event which proved bittersweet for Mr Higgins, who has today started a new life of leisure after more than 40 years in the licensing trade.

Mr Higgins, 60, said: 'It's mixed emotions really between leaving and meeting all our lovely customers.

'Seeing all these lovely faces you don't want to go. But having decided to go we have to now.

'This is really what pubs are all about – the community are part and parcel of what pubs are for.'

Mrs Higgins said she hoped all their 'lovely customers enjoyed themselves' on the day which family friend and regular Emily Nudd helped to organise.

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She said: 'It's a fantastic way to say goodbye to Chris and Glynis. They are so amazing. They are what essentially makes a great community pub.'

Regular David Clarke, 55, from Poringland, had been coming to the pub since Mr Higgins started working there more than two decades ago and was one of the many who attended the party.

He said it was very sad to see the couple go but wanted to help give them a great send-off.

He added Mr Higgins was a terrific communicator who was community spirited and always offered 'a warm welcome, terrific beer and great food'.

Fran Goodbody, 36, who worked as a barmaid at the pub 15 years ago, said it was very sad, adding that the place would not be the same again.

The couple, who have just become grandparents for the second time, hope to be able to spend more time with family.

Mr Higgins, who hails from Macclesfield, was Norwich's sheriff in 2011-12 and said he was interested in using his knowledge of the city to become a Blue Badge Guide in the future.

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.

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.

It has been taken over by Nick De'Ath, who counts the Unthank Arms and the Lawyer among his other businesses.

For some time the Evening News has promoted Norwich's pubs through its Love Your Local campaign.

Have you got a pubs story? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk