Barman bouncing back from hotel redundancy

A BARMAN recently made redundant from a Suffolk hotel has told how the inspiration for his new career was staring him right in the face at his former workplace.

Robert Lee, 34 - who had worked in hotels from the age of 16 until losing his job at Sudbury’s the Mill Hotel in February - is now trying his hand as a landscape photographer.

The idea came to him when he was serving drinks in the administration-hit hotel while looking out onto the town’s famous water meadows on which an array of colourful cattle graze during the summer months.

The father-of-two, from Great Cornard, hopes a photography exhibition of his work at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury starting this weekend<07.03> will be the platform for him to bounce back from the threat of prolonged unemployment.

“I was pretty down when it happened - it was a kick in the teeth after three years service - but at the end of the day they did what they had to do and this exhibition gave me something to concentrate on,” he said.

With his own website showcasing his work, which has always been a keen hobby, Mr Lee is hopeful better times are just around the corner.

He said: “It has been a big shock and we have had to make massive changes to our lifestyle - all my life I have been employed since getting a paper round when I was 14.

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“My wife is currently studying a part-time course in health and social care at West Suffolk College and hoping to go to university and become a midwife.”

Mr Lee also revealed how working conditions and morale were still good when he left the Mill Hotel, despite the fact accounts from KPMG were drafted in back in December after the group Elizabeth Hotels Ltd went into administration.

He said he was always paid on time and he was sure the stunning location of the hotel would, in time, make it a “gold mine” for the right buyer.

A collection of 30 of Mr Lee’s prints, mounted and framed, of Sudbury scenes will be available to view and buy at the Quay Theatre from Sunday<07.03> through until April 1. The exhibition is free to get in and is open from 12pm to 2pm.