Dad left blind in freak accident opens dream shop
PUBLISHED: 16:44 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:19 04 December 2019
It has been a trying time for pubs and antiques shops across the nation - but one Suffolk village believes its new way of combining the two will help revive the area.
Red Lion Antiques has opened its doors in the heart of East Bergholt, just a few steps away from the popular pub which closed its doors more than two years ago to undergo a complete revamp.
The new antiques store, run by villager David Baksh, will go hand-in-hand with the pub which is now set to open in summer 2020.
David, who was previously a chef at the Red Lion and has 40 years of self-taught experience with antiques, says he is living his childhood dream.
"Antiques are my wife and I's love - and after a freak accident saw me go blind in one eye 18 months ago I knew I had to make it a reality," said David, who has lived in the village nearly 20 years.
The father-of-two was restoring a piece of furniture using a bench saw, when the tip of the saw broke off and shot in his eye. The incident led to him having three operations and going blind in one eye.
"This shop is almost like my therapy," added David, who says the accident has impacted him mentally. "The people in the village and their support has pushed me to make sure I wouldn't give up. You have got to carry on and live your dream."
The shop, which is currently open from Wednesday to Sunday, sells antique furnishings, retro items and vintage pieces dating back to the Georgian and Victorian era up to modern day.
David believes the shop will be a success as "Suffolk is renowned for its antiques", but notices that these kind of shops are closing down everywhere you look, as well as "pub after pub".
He said: "East Bergholt is such a lovely village. It's a place where people come to visit so it needs a bit more work put into it. Opening an antique shop is so important and it's different to just seeing homes being built."
David's dream of owning an antique shop became a reality after friend Jonathan Peachey, who has lived next door to the Red Lion pub for more than 13 years, decided to take on the new venture.
Speaking of his plans, Jonathan said: "As a neighbour I just thought the pub could be infinitely better than what it was. It's a 1770s building which was covered in a large amount of modern material and it was suffering underneath it."
Jonathan has been taking the building back to its roots, stripping the interior and revealing fascinating features from an era where John Constable grew up in the village.
The 48-year-old, originally from Langham, said: "I'm hoping that the pub will be the heartbeat of the village again.
"Now with the antiques shop too, it is a real asset for the village. I hope that people are delighted with it and all of David's hard work."
David has also chosen to support two local businesses in the antiques store - selling Bow and Oak crafts and So Soft Furnishings - both of whom are newly starting out.
The pub's renovation could even see a spa or another type of building installed at the back of the garden, which has been cleared of overgrowth and transformed into a huge open space.
The toilet block will also be knocked down as a part of the revamp.