‘We definitely saved it from being turned into houses’ - New deli and tearoom opens at The Wheatsheaf in West Beckham

Stephen and Daniella Moorby at the Wheatsheaf pub in West Beckham, which will be opening a new deli

Stephen and Daniella Moorby at the Wheatsheaf pub in West Beckham, which will be opening a new deli and tearoom. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A pub that appeared to have the sword of Damocles hanging over it has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, and a new tearoom and deli are now being opened there.

The future of The Wheatsheaf in West Beckham was hanging by a thread when Daniella and Stephen Moorby took over in December 2014, and the first week they took just £18 in trade.

But they have turned its fortunes round and their vision of a community pub providing a whole range of services is coming to fruition.

Mrs Moorby said: 'We definitely saved it from being turned into houses.

'We have had our ups and downs, but we have put a lot of TLC and dedication into it. Locals said the pub was ready to be boarded-up before we took it on. It was a challenge. The pub had such a bad reputation, but we renovated everything, but kept its beauty and authenticity. It's still very laid-back.

'We must have spent about £200,000 on it. We kept on getting approval from locals, and now have a tremendous return business.'

One of the pub's regulars, Sir Philip Hall, who was awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to conservation and human rights in Nigeria, will officially open the new tearoom and deli along with other essential community services on Wednesday, July 26 at noon. The shop will sell locally sourced produce wherever possible, including fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade cakes, freshly baked bread, preserves, chutneys and homemade ready-to-cook meals.

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Later in the year, the tearoom will be providing some digital training and will set up a senior citizens' luncheon club.

The licensees hope volunteers from the village will help staff the shop and it will open from 9am to provide breakfasts through to 3pm. Once the shop closes at 3pm, customers can still access provisions from the shop through the pub.

Mr Moorby said: 'We want to be a part of village life as much as possible and that means providing additional services at times when we are open for the pub and accommodation business.

'We are happy to provide a service for our locals that would save them a six-mile round trip to the nearest convenience store.'

The work is being made possible thanks to a £4,000 grant from Pub is The Hub Community Services Fund.

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