Pub reopens and is aiming to be at the heart of busy community

Julie Harper, Hefin Jones, Melissa and Terry Purnell, David Twyman the team behind the reopening of

Julie Harper, Hefin Jones, Melissa and Terry Purnell, David Twyman the team behind the reopening of the Three Mariners in Trimley St Mary

A village pub has been reopened after being bought by a group of business people with a heart for their community.

The Three Mariners at Trimley St Mary had been standing empty for months with its future uncertain – but is now looking forward to brighter times and has got off to a great start.

The pub in High Road – opposite the historic twin churches – has been bought and given a new lease of life by Melissa and Terry Purnell, Richard and Julie Harper, and David Twyman.

They have already invested in a substantial refurbishment both inside and outside, and brought in new ideas to entice the locals and put the Three Mariners back at the centre of village life, and bring in visitors, too.

Mrs Purnell, who runs a magazine and marketing agency, said she and husband Terry, a property developer, who live in Trimley St Martin, had passed the pub many times and felt it was a project they could take on. After speaking to friends in business, the team was formed to buy the pub.

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She said: “We kept driving past and the pub looked so sad and we just felt we needed to try and get involved here.

“After we bought it, we decided to revamp it and to do it in five weeks because we were determined to open quickly. It was a bit Challenge Anneka-like but we had eight to ten people working on it most days and we made it in time.”

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The pub had been closed for about six months and has had a chequered history over the past few years.

Mrs Purnell said: “We felt there was lots of potential and the pub has such a fantastic history. We wanted to make it very different from other pubs nearby because we feel you need to be different to attract customers, and to create a nice, homely and warm atmosphere.

“The response we have had from people coming in has been great and we have had some lovely comments.”

Mayor of Felixstowe Doreen Savage and Suffolk Coastal chairman Susan Harvey were on the guest list for the grand opening night.

The pub is operating as a freehouse, providing more flexibility for bringing in new beers and ciders.

It is sourcing many of its drinks from local brewers, and its food from local producers – the Sausage Shop at Trimley St Martin is making unique sausages not on sale at the shop for the restaurant, and the butchers in Walton has been doing the same with burgers.

People ordering a roast in advance for a Sunday can choose their own joint or bird and the chef will cook it for the family to carve themselves at their table.

Mrs Purnell said: “It’s been very popular so far – and we’ve had to invest in a few more carving knives and forks!”

The pub dates back hundreds of years and its name originates from the three ships – the Desire, the Content and the Hugh Gallant – with which resident Thomas Cavendish circumnavigated the globe in 1586.

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