Long-term managers take the reins at waterside Acle inn

Vanessa and Phil Hannon, with their sons, Finlay, 9, and Alfie, 7, at The Bridge Inn at Acle Bridge,

Vanessa and Phil Hannon, with their sons, Finlay, 9, and Alfie, 7, at The Bridge Inn at Acle Bridge, the pub they have managed for nine years, and now have an anonymous backer who has made them directors. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Almost a decade after they first laid eyes on the Bridge Inn at Acle Bridge, a couple are finally taking the reins as directors of their beloved business.

The Bridge Inn at Acle Bridge. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Bridge Inn at Acle Bridge. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Philip and Vanessa Hannon have worked hard for nine years to build a familiar pub for their local community in Acle, but had a shock in January when the pub – then trading under the name of celebrity chef Marco Pierre White – went into administration.

'Phil and I have been managers here for nine years,' said Mrs Hannon. 'We've seen two different companies come through, and it's been very unsettling for not only us but our staff too.

'But it was a great moment around nine weeks ago, when a backer came forward and said we could keep going and keep all our staff.'

Now the couple will be able to run the inn the way they want to.

'I think there was a bit of confusion over whether we were still here or not,' said Mrs Hannon.

'But we want to re-establish that we are here to stay and it's business as usual.

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'We do feel like we're embarking on a new challenge. Of course things will change but slowly; we want people to feel at home.'

Not only have Mr and Mrs Hannon worked at the inn, but they've lived in it too.

In their time there they have reached great milestones in life and overcome adversity, welcoming son Alfie, now seven, to join older brother Finlay, and Mrs Hannon suffering from breast cancer.

'We've had so many events here, and we've been through a whole lifetime here,' Mrs Hannon said. 'The children think of this as their home, and they want to work here when they grow up. Truly, we really do just like people.'

Are you embarking on a new venture? Email geraldine.scott@archant.co.uk