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Suffolk pub given lockdown boost with new face-lift

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 July 2020

David Laing, owner of The Chequers in Great Blakenham Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

David Laing, owner of The Chequers in Great Blakenham Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A historic Suffolk pub has received a lockdown facelift from its owner who bought the premises more than two decades after joining the business for the first time.

David Laing, owner of The Chequers in Great Blakenham Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Laing, owner of The Chequers in Great Blakenham Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

David Laing is now owner and landlord of The Chequers Pub in Stowmarket Road, Great Blakenham, the pub he joined 27 years ago as a young man and has spent the past six giving the premises a full makeover.

After lockdown, which gave the 54-year-old the perfect opportunity to install new signage and redo much of the outdoor space, the pub has again opened.

And it appears all the hard work has paid off as the business has got off to an surprisingly good start since reopening in June.

Mr Laing said: “We’ve started off really well.

The Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

“The weekends have been really good and it’s picking up during the week.

“Having said that, the last few Mondays have been as good as before lockdown and that’s without the poker club.

“There has been a boost with the younger generations wanting to get back to the pub after lockdown but I think the older people are starting to come back in as well.”

During the week a number of groups use the pub as a meeting point including a local bikers club, a poker team and a trail running group.

The Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

They enjoy the newly expanded kitchen and upstairs dining area as well as the large beer garden.

The pub has also worked hard to transform into a socially distanced venue both indoor and out.

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“We have got plenty of space so people can social distance quite easily really,” Mr Laing added.

The Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

“There have been a few nerves, but it’s just a matter of getting the confidence back.

“I’m sure more will come eventually.

“And the weather helps massively because people know they can sit outside perfectly well.

“I am optimistic for the future.

The Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I think the pub looks really good and there is a new housing estate going up near us.

“People have come in over the past couple weeks who have only just moved in which is really good.

“All in all we’re optimistic and we think we have a great look and a great kerb appeal.”

Staff at The Chequers Pub are now planning future events to attract more custom including a brand new quiz night starting on July 31.

The Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Chequers in Great Blakenham has undergone a refurbishment and is open for business Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN


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