Ex-landlord, 95, pulls pint in his old pub after 32 years
- Credit: Supplied by Di Baker
It was his world for more than a decade, but Second World War veteran Gordon Lloyd had not been to his old pub for 32 years.
But now, thanks to a friendship forged during lockdown, the 95-year-old has finally revisited the White Horse Inn at Neatishead on the Broads where he was landlord in the 1970s and 80s.
Di Baker, 56, and her husband Mark, 58, got to know Mr Lloyd thanks to a village scheme set up during the pandemic, whereby they did his shopping.
Last week Mrs Baker convinced Mr Lloyd to revisit the pub, an experience he said was "absolutely fantastic".
Mr Lloyd said: "It took Di a little while to get me to go back - I had put so much work into the pub I couldn't face it after all those years.
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"We had a wonderful couple of hours there. They have brilliant staff. It has changed dramatically and for the better."
Mr Lloyd served in Malta with the Royal Air Force during the war and later in life visited Norfolk on a fishing trip.
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When he went to the White Horse for a drink he met its landlady, Margaret Bacon, and love blossomed over the bar. They married and ran the pub together until 1988.
He saved the White Horse in the 1980s - it was one of two on the same street owned by Watney Mann brewery, which decided one had to go.
So Mr Lloyd spent £10,000 of his own money converting part of their family quarters on the ground floor into a pub kitchen and they moved upstairs. Because the White Horse could then serve meals, the brewery closed the other pub, the Eagle.
Mrs Baker said it was wonderful to see Mr Lloyd in his element at the venue, which is now run by Ricky Malt.
She said: "He got to go behind the bar and pull a pint, and he was delighted.
"He couldn’t believe how much it had changed since his day when it had a very basic outdoor loo.
"He pointed out the room where the air raid wardens would sit with their pumps and buckets on watch for bombs in the Second World War, and the place where the pheasants used to hang."