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Presenter Paddy O’Connell to pull pints as substitute landlord at historic Suffolk pub

PUBLISHED: 13:16 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:28 06 July 2018

Radio presenter Paddy O'Connell at the Low House in Laxfield Picture: SALLY CLARKE

Radio presenter Paddy O'Connell at the Low House in Laxfield Picture: SALLY CLARKE

Sally Clarke

Radio presenter Paddy O’Connell is to put his conversational skills to use as the stand-in landlord at a historic Suffolk pub – just two months after it was taken over by the community.

The Low House Laxfield CIC celebrate buying the pub, pictured l-r, Alison Oughton, Tim Woolnough, Emma Hawkins, Ian Boulton, Mike Hawkins and Al Clarke. Picture: SALLY CLARKEThe Low House Laxfield CIC celebrate buying the pub, pictured l-r, Alison Oughton, Tim Woolnough, Emma Hawkins, Ian Boulton, Mike Hawkins and Al Clarke. Picture: SALLY CLARKE

Mr O’Connell, who regularly hosts shows on BBC Radio 2 and 4, will be pulling pints at the King’s Head in Laxfield, near Framlingham, as one of several friends who chipped in to buy the pub from Adnams in May.

Despite having worked in a bar for 10 years, and being a regular visitor to both pubs in the village, Mr O’Connell says the regulars are not holding out much hope for his bartending abilities.

“There’s quite a lot of banter with the locals, who know how hard it is to run a pub, and who expect me to be quite useless, but well-motivated – like the old-style England football team,” he said.

Mr O Connell said he had many friends in the village and was “very honoured “ to have been asked to join the community takeover.

The pub's taproom Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGEThe pub's taproom Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

He views his role as being the “man on the subs bench” helping out the “great team” who regularly run the pub.

Prior to the sale being agreed, villagers and pub-lovers had grown increasingly concerned for the future of the 16th century inn, which is also known as the Low House and is one of the last remaining examples of a traditional taproom.

Now, however, the new owners say it is “thriving”.

Al Clarke, who is the pub’s regular landlord, said: “It’s really good to have Paddy standing in whilst I’m away.

The King's Head in Laxfield Picture: GREGG BROWNThe King's Head in Laxfield Picture: GREGG BROWN

“He’ll be putting his Radio 2 and Radio 4 conversational and debating skills to very good use whilst pulling pints in the taproom.

“Paddy who lives in London, volunteered to take the helm – or to be my ‘stunt double’ as he describes it – for a few days as it fits in around his radio presenting job.

“As one of the owners of the pub, he like everyone else involved is putting their skills to use wherever they can.

“Tim Woolnough and Mike Hawkins, two other owners are also doing stints as guest Landlord whilst I’m away next week.

“This is a testament to how successful working with friends can be - the whole team is very much involved in making the pub a thriving and successful place once again.”

Mr O’Connell will be in charge from Sunday- Wednesday.


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