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Barrowby pub landlord celebrates 25 years in the village

White Swan landlord John Fairhurst
White Swan landlord John Fairhurst

A popular landlord has been pulling pints at the same pub for 25 years.

John Fairhurst, of the White Swan, Barrowby, celebrated the major milestone with music and entertainment.

The 66-year-old said: “It’s a great pub. It’s a nice village. We have loyal customers. They come in and take the mick occasionally. We are close to town without being isolated.”

The White Swan on High Road is leased from Punch Taverns and serves three real or cask ales, plus four lagers. It has been in the Good Beer Guide for several years, including the 2018 edition.

The CAMRA supporter previously ran the White Lion at Colsterworth and prior to that, was bar manager at Stoke Rochford Hall.

“We serve food Thursday, Friday, Saturday at lunchtime and in the evening. It’s good pub grub with a varied menu. We also have darts and crib teams.”

John said one secret of the pub’s success or survival was being the only pub in the village. “We used to have the Royal British Legion, but that has been closed six or seven years.”

Looking back over his 25 years at The White Swan, John says the biggest change has been the longer opening hours since the relaxation of the licensing laws.

“It’s more hours to work staff wise. I’m open 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The drinks trade has also changed with a lot with supermarkets and the cheaper beer they sell. People spend time on computers and online shopping, so there’s not as many people coming out to the pub as 25 years ago.”

John admits that price-wise the White Swan cannot compete with the supermarkets, but instead tries to make watching sports and special events more fun and entertaining.

“We put on special food to go with the occasions. We have the World Cup this year and hopefully that will give us a boost. There is also the Six Nations Rugby to bring people out where the atmosphere is better.

“The supermarket cannot compete with the real ale. The only place you get good real ale is a good quality pub that sells it.”

Asked if he will be there for a 30th anniversary, John added: “Oh yes! you never know.”

Sat at the bar, bar worker Sandra Coleman, said: “It’s a wonderful pub and we are on Facebook. John’s not a bad boss.”

Neville Lomas, chairman of Grantham CAMRA said with John being at the White Swan for 25 years, the pub was “in good hands.”

Neville continued: “He’s a bit of a character and people like him for that. John has a great personality and is very much respected and has a great rapport with his regulars.

“As with a lot of villages these days, unfortunately the White Swan is the only pub left standing. As long as John is there, it will survive.”

Grantham CAMRA plans to hand over a plaque to mark the anniversary sometime during February.

TripAdvisor also rates the White Swan highly, giving it four stars out of five.


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