End of an era for Southwold
MORE than 30 years of brewery tradition will come to an end in Southwold this autumn with the retirement of dray horses Monarch and Sam.The Percheron horses will complete their work for Suffolk coastal brewing company Adnams on September 6 with their last journey from the existing distribution warehouse in the centre of the town to the brewer's pubs.
MORE than 30 years of brewery tradition will come to an end in Southwold this autumn with the retirement of dray horses Monarch and Sam.
The Percheron horses will complete their work for Suffolk coastal brewing company Adnams on September 6 with their last journey from the existing distribution warehouse in the centre of the town to the brewer's pubs.
Drayman Chris Orchard will take on other responsibilities with the company while his colleague Emil Svobado will take voluntary redundancy.
Monarch, just seven-years-old, will return to Spalding where he came from, to carry on working for another company.
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However Sam, at 15, will retire from work altogether and will go to a farmer in Reydon, where plans for his “retirement bungalow” are being drawn up.
He will live out his life in luxury at the expense of Adnams who will foot the bill for the new stables.
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Marketing director Steve Curzon said he hoped people would still go to see Sam as well as going to see the horses for the final outings they make around the town.
He added that the decision to retire the horses had been made solely with the horses' best interests at heart.
He said the new distribution centre, currently being built in Reydon, would make it unfair for the horse to pull the 1.5 tonnes on what has become a fast, busy and unsafe environment for the horses.
Mr Curzon said: “It would be a very big ask to expect the horses to pull that load along what is essentially a solid white line road. Near St Felix School you have that dip in the road and they would not be able to get the load up the hill.”
He added: “We would be putting the horse, the drayman and motorists in danger if we carried on.”
Mr Curzon also dispelled a myth that the horses had been working in Southwold for hundreds of years.
They have only been in the town since September 1970, but he admitted they have caught the imagination of locals and visitors alike.
“For that reason we could not just quietly say goodbye,” he said. “They are something to be celebrated and there are a couple of events throughout the summer which will see the horses out and about.”
The Flying Egg event on July 23, in which competitors are, this year, being asked to invent an alternative timepiece will see the horses out and their last trip delivering casks will be on September 6.
Mr Curzon said he would fight any criticism that the loss of the horses was anything other than a welfare issue saying he realised they were popular with the town and that some people would be very upset to see them go, but he said Adnams had been working very hard to work with the local community so the two could live in harmony.
He added: “You have to see the context in which this decision was made. We have a distribution centre being built in Reydon, which will take 50 lorries out of the town and we are building a new brewery which will take away the smell. All these things have been done because we have listened to the public.”
He added: “You can't have it both ways. You can't have an East Anglian success story which is contributing to the community, but is unable to move forward.
“We are moving forward in a colourful way and innovative way, which will see Adnams go from strength to strength.”