New publicans aim to revive village facilities

David and Louise Lewis, new landlord/lady of The Bull, Rippingale, who are turning one of the function rooms into a Archers themed tea room. EMN-160319-095251001
David and Louise Lewis, new landlord/lady of The Bull, Rippingale, who are turning one of the function rooms into a Archers themed tea room. EMN-160319-095251001

A couple aim to inject new life into a community by offering a range of facilities at their village pub, made famous by radio play The Archers.

David and Louise Lewis moved into The Bull at Rippingale just before Christmas after it had stood empty for six months.

The pair have been in the pub trade for much of their working lives, previously managing one in Diss, Suffolk, although David is from Louth and Louise from Bourne.

With so many villages losing their only pubs and shops forever, they have been welcomed by residents. Louise, 29, said: “It was literally a blank canvas when we started. We have fitted a new bar, flooring and furniture. We opened on December 18 with mince pies and mulled cider for the locals. It was a really good night and has been building up since then.”

Louise said: “The villagers have been really helpful and we want to be part of the community.”

To that end, as well as bingo, pool and darts, the pub hosts the post office four days a week and now keen baker Louise is incorporating a tearoom for villagers to meet up, buy stamps and have a chat over tea and cake or lunch.

The pub was famously visited by the producer of much-loved BBC radio drama The Archers and the village initially served as inspiration for the writers. So the couple plan to call the new venture The Archers Tearoom, complete with separate entrance archway. It will have its own garden seating and is due to open on April 1. In the future they are considering adding a small farm shop for last minute essentials.

David, 34, said it is a pub of immense proportions and potential. It has a dog-friendly area and its five detached bed and breakfast rooms are being upgraded. The restored rear garden, with impressive views, will be the venue for a St George’s Day beer festival on April 23 with live bands.