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Entrepreneurs reopen country pub

AN entrepreneurial couple have used a five-figure funding package to re-open a country pub in Ashton near Oundle, three months after it closed under previous ownership.

New tenants Paul Andreff and April McCully obtained £50,000 from NatWest to reopen The Chequered Skipper at the heart of the community where they live.

After leasing the pub in April this year, the finance has enabled the couple to refresh the premises, including a large upgrade of kitchen equipment, a huge stock replenishment with exclusive wine and food producers, alarm systems, staff accommodation, and purchasing of bespoke uniforms.

Located in the thatched village of Ashton, The Chequered Skipper has its own large patio area and side garden, as well as use of the village green where they have placed new picnic tables with parasols.

Over the last few months, Paul and April have taken time to source local suppliers for the pub’s menu of fresh, seasonal dishes, all of which will be created by new in-house chef, Adam Jackson, and sous chef, Dillon Wainwright. Alongside the two chefs, nine further management, front of house, bar and kitchen staff have been hired to ensure great customer service.

The couple already run two other businesses, Little Elms Nursery School and Elm Heritage of Oundle, a construction company specialising in restoring heritage buildings. The construction firm supported the refresh of the Chequered Skipper’s unique thatched building dating back to 1905.

Further plans and discussions with the premises’ owner are under way to transform the outside space with new lighting and heating to encourage al fresco dining, as well as the addition of an oak-framed orangery to expand the Chequered Skipper’s dining experience.

April said: “We moved to Ashton 12 years ago because we were drawn to the village’s picturesque charm and very much enjoyed having a traditional country pub like The Chequered Skipper at the heart of the community where we lived. When the pub closed in February, we wanted to be involved in such an important community asset and thanks to the funding from NatWest, we have been able to return it to a family-run pub. We look forward to welcoming locals, regulars and new customers over the coming months.”

Mat Parkhouse, NatWest Relationship Manager, said: “Paul and April’s extensive experience of restoring old buildings, as well as April’s background in dining management, made them the perfect candidates to take ownership of The Chequered Skipper. A well-run family pub can be the centre of a village community and with the funding we have provided, we hope that this special country pub will remain in the Ashton community for many years to come.”

Companies mentioned in this article

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