Pub is region's 'best loved' business

AN ESSEX pub has been named as the best-loved local business in the East of England. The Fox and Fiddler in Colchester was nominated by satisfied customer Holly Smart and was chosen as regional winner by panel of judges including Dragon Theo Paphitis and representatives from banking group Barclays, which organised the context.

AN ESSEX pub has been named as the best-loved local business in the East of England.

The Fox and Fiddler in Colchester was nominated by satisfied customer Holly Smart and was chosen as regional winner by panel of judges including Dragon Theo Paphitis and representatives from banking group Barclays, which organised the context.

The pub - a “local” in every sense of the word - was acclaimed for its contribution to the community as well as to the local economy.

Landlords Jeff and Bev Wright receive �5,000 in prize money and a free business support package from Barclays, with Holly Smart receiving �1,000 as the successful nominator.

Ms Smart said: “I have only been drinking and eating in the Fox & Fiddler for about three years. However, I discovered quickly that they are a driving force behind supporting our troops in foreign lands.

“A large percentage of the Parachute Regiment choose to drink in the 'Fox' as it is fondly known, and they are always welcome with open arms. The Fox knows when they are away on exercise, on tour or even individuals' birthdays and they always honour any return or anniversary with some sort of celebration.”

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She added: “Jeff and Bev Wright devote their time to a pub that not only is renowned locally for its fine ale, but also to a pub that supports our troops - they actively raise money for 'Help for Heroes', amongst other charities held close to the Parachute Regiment's hearts.

Mr Wright said news of the pub's success had been greeted with “a mixture of surprise and delight”.

“Four months ago we refurbished the pub taking into account environmental considerations that would make significant cost savings; this has meant that we have not had to increase the drinks costs since March 2008,” he said.

“We are also very much a local community pub and work closely with our small independent local suppliers, so when customers drink in our pub they know that they are supporting not only the Fox and Fiddler but also shops like Frank Wright, the local butcher, the Mighty Oak Brewing Company in Maldon and John Whitnell, the greengrocer who grows produce on a local allotment to mention just a few.”

He added: “Barclays are also going to support us to put on a charity fundraising day to help us to make the lives of injured soldiers based at the local garrison and their families a little bit easier and to show that the local people do care and appreciate what they go through.”

Simon Culling, Barclays' local business, said: “I've been extremely impressed by the nominations, both in terms of the huge impact the local businesses are having on their local community, but also the effort of the part of the nominee in making such good quality nominations.

“This is an outstanding business that makes it clear that, though the economic environment is tough, our entrepreneurs have the passion and commitment to come through with flying colours, and help the community while they do it.”

Theo Paphitis added: “I know how hard it is to make a success of a business. What we see here today are truly remarkable people making a great positive change to the world through their business.”