Norwich restaurant The Last Wine Bar saved from closure by four regular customers

The new owners and management team of The Last Wine Bar: (from left) Lynda Baxter, Mark Loveday, Emm

The new owners and management team of The Last Wine Bar: (from left) Lynda Baxter, Mark Loveday, Emma Neal, Richard Maxwell, Iain McCarten, Mark Duffy, Vince Pearson. Photo: Newman Associates - Credit: Archant

A Norwich restaurant has been saved from closure by four regular customers who stepped in to buy the business.

The Last wine bar and restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Last wine bar and restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The Last Wine Bar and Restaurant on St George's Street was purchased by the four investors on the eve of the company's 29th anniversary.

The restaurant's founder, James Sawrey-Cookson, is now retiring from the business, aged 67.

Management consultant Lynda Baxter, who is one of the four investors, said: 'Along with many city restaurants, the trading environment has been tough for The Last over the past couple of years, and the business had got to the stage where it needed an injection of capital to put it back on an even keel.

'The four of us are long-standing customers who all love The Last, and by investing we are enabling it to face the future with confidence.'

The Last wine bar and restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Last wine bar and restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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The three other new owners are Mark Duffy, chairman at Dardan Security, local businessman Mark Loveday, and Vince Pearson chairman of Waterfall Elior.

The restaurant will be run by a management team made up of manager Emma Neal, head chef Iain McCarten, deputy manager Gracie Sutton and business support coach Richard Maxwell.

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Ms Baxter said: 'We want to pay tribute to what James Sawrey-Cookson created here, and we are delighted to be able to take the business forward with its management team.

'We certainly won't be changing what people love about The Last, but we will be looking to invest in improvements to ensure The Last has a bright future.'

The Last wine bar and restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Last wine bar and restaurant.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The Last Wine Bar and Restaurant was founded in a former shoe factory on St George's Street in Norwich in April 1990. It employs around 20 people.

The Last Wine Bar and Restaurant, St Georges Street, has been purchased by four investors. Photo : S

The Last Wine Bar and Restaurant, St Georges Street, has been purchased by four investors. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Copyright Archant Norfolk Ltd

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