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He lived in the village we were working in and I think he liked what we’d been doing to the pub. He asked me if I’d be interested in taking on one of their pubs.

Alan shook his head and said no.

“They were nothing if not persistent, though,” he recalls.

Sarah remembers it vividly. “I knew they were wooing me. I knew exactly what they were doing - but I liked it. And, more importantly, I liked what they said.”

“I went to the interview,” he says. “But I was still sure I was going to do something else.” He changed his mind in the reception area at Everards' HQ.

“I remember seeing people walk past, up the stairs, through the corridors, and they were talking to each other and smiling. They liked each other.

A few people looked over at us and smiled. They were friendly.

People, he says. The people seemed right. “It just clicked. I remember before the interview thinking: ‘You know what - this seems right…’”

At first, they struggled to settle in. “I swear my bag was packed, ready to leave, for our first three years here,” says Sarah. In 2014, they pumped £35,000 of their own cash into the pub - an investment matched by Everards - to refurb the place, open it up.

The investment was recouped within a year. Thanks to a rolling programme of events - three beer festivals a year, gin festivals, comedy shows, plug in and play nights, cheese and wine events - the pub is a resounding success.

Black Horse Ayelstone
Six years ago, Alan wanted a new career. Now? Well, he’s glad he stayed on.

“The pub is doing well and we’re enjoying it again.”
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