Home

Customers pour back to flood-hit pub
By Emily Allen
 
Landlord Andrew Chalmers, centre, drinks a toast to the inn's reopening, with, from left, his wife Anne, mother-in-law Gill Buckingham, son Gary and daughter-in-law Katie
Landlord Andrew Chalmers, centre, drinks a toast to the inn's reopening, with, from left, his wife Anne, mother-in-law Gill Buckingham, son Gary and daughter-in-law Katie

CUSTOMERS have poured back to a much-loved pub almost destroyed by the July floods.

The Lamb, in Mill Street, Wantage, was the worst-hit business in the town, overwhelmed by 4ft of water.

But since reopening last month, landlord Andrew Chalmers, 60, said trade was booming - and was the best he had ever seen.

He said: "It's superb. We're up 15 per cent on last Christmas.

"Before the floods we were doing about 1,000 meals a week. Now we are averaging about 1,200.

"It feels like we just switched the lights off in July and turned them on again in December. It's like we've not even closed - and business is better than it was at any time before. It's quite phenomenal.

"This year has been the best Christmas in our 13 years. We have been jammed solid. The support we've had is absolutely unbelievable.

"We've got some new faces and the old regular faces. They've all been absolutely tremendous."The pub during the floods Repairs to the Grade-II listed building soared to nearly 500,000 over the five months it was closed, and it has undergone a complete refurbishment.

Flashback: The pub during the floods
Flashback: The pub during the floods

Everything from floors to kitchen equipment was ruined by flood water.

Regular of 35 years Graham Latimer, 55, of Orchard Way, Wantage, said he was "lost" when the pub first closed.

But he said: "It's superb. It was always a first class pub - but it's even better than it was before.

"I think people like it because it's one of the oldest pubs in the town and it has a thatched roof."

Mr Chalmers said he wanted to thank all the neighbours, friends and customers for their support over the past five months.

He said: "We didn't know what to expect when we had to close but, out of all the badness, everyone has been tremendous and I cannot fault anyone."

Charlotte Falkenau, president of Wantage Chamber of Commerce, said: "People definitely missed the pub."

6:15am Friday 4th January 2008