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Suffolk landlady and ‘second-mum’ pulls final pint after more than 45 years

PUBLISHED: 16:58 04 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:50 05 October 2020

Elly White, current landlord of the Kings Arms in Stowmarket, is retiring after more than 45 years working at nine Suffolk pubs. Picture: STEF MARIE

Elly White, current landlord of the Kings Arms in Stowmarket, is retiring after more than 45 years working at nine Suffolk pubs. Picture: STEF MARIE

STEF MARIE

A landlady from Ipswich said she is “sad but excited” to be retiring at the age of 68 after working in nine pubs across Suffolk since her early twenties.

Elly White, now 68, is retiring from the Kings Arms in Stowmarket after 11 years and 45 years of working in pubs across Suffolk. Picture:  STEF MARIEElly White, now 68, is retiring from the Kings Arms in Stowmarket after 11 years and 45 years of working in pubs across Suffolk. Picture: STEF MARIE

Elly White, who has been landlady at the Kings Arms pub in Stowmarket for the past 11 years and is described as the town’s “second-mum”, will call her final orders on October 31.

The popular free house, which is owned by Chris and Barbara Wooltorton, will close its doors for good following Ms White’s decision to retire.

“I am sad but excited,” said Ms White, who has worked in nine pubs across Suffolk and is known in Stowmarket for her hot pot and famous chilli con carnes.

“I’ve decided I want to spend more time with my family and I suppose the virus has made me realise how life is too short.”

Elly White working as the landlord of the Stowmarket Royal Oak in the 90s. Picture: STEF MARIEElly White working as the landlord of the Stowmarket Royal Oak in the 90s. Picture: STEF MARIE

Ms White got her first pub job working behind the bar at the Manor Ballroom in Ipswich when she was about 23 years old. She then went onto work at the town’s Gainsborough Labour & Social Club, the Silent Street Labour Club and Kesgrave Social Club, before moving to March in Cambridge.

Here she had her own pub called the George and Star, where she worked for three years.

Ms White then moved to Stowmarket in 1985 where she became landlady of the Royal Oak. She then moved onto the Shepherd and Dog pub at Onehouse, the Stowupland Retreat, and then pulled pints behind the bar at the Stag Tavern in Stowmarket, before being asked to run The Kings Arms 11 years ago.

She said she has “met some wonderful people” over the years and has loved her time as a landlady.

Landlord Elly White is known in Stowmarket for her famous hot pot and chilli con carnes. Picture:STEF MARIELandlord Elly White is known in Stowmarket for her famous hot pot and chilli con carnes. Picture:STEF MARIE

“It has given me a great social life,” said Ms White. “The 80s and 90s were the best times for pubs as the culture has changed so much over the years.”

She said there have been too many fond memories to mention, adding she has had a great time in every pub.

Ms White has done lots of charity work within her pubs over the years, raising money for a care home where her mum lived and setting up a Gulf War support group.

She received a letter from parliament in the 90s thanking her after she made up hundreds of parcels to send over to soldiers.

The Kings Arms Free House in Stowmarket is closing its doors permanently at the end of October. Picture: ARCHANTThe Kings Arms Free House in Stowmarket is closing its doors permanently at the end of October. Picture: ARCHANT

Her daughter Stef Marie, 39, has worked behind the bar with her mum since she turned 18.

She said: “Mum has the best and loudest laugh in the town, which she is well-known for.

“She is the most caring and loving person anyone will meet, she lights up the room with her laughter and is so much fun.

“She will do anything for anyone and she is known for being second mum to most people. Everyone will miss her but I can’t wait to now spend more time with her away from the pub, she will be gone with the wind!”

Ms White will spend her retirement with her daughter Stef, son Karl, 43 and her four beloved grandchildren Brennan, Kason, Amelie and Ava.

The Kings Arms pub will close permanently on Saturday, October 31.


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