Dave and Becky Preston, who also run The Sun Inn at Coate Water, one of Swindon’s busiest family pubs, have taken over behind the bar at The Baker’s Arms at Badbury and plan to run them side-by-side.
The newly-married couple, who wed at Christchurch in Swindon only last year, have wasted no time since they moved in and the pub has been repainted and new furniture brought in. They are keen to put down roots in a local community, perhaps start a family and Becky says Badbury seems perfect.
“The Sun Inn at Coate Water is busy and thriving – especially since the new children’s play area went in earlier this year,” says Becky. “The Baker’s Arms at Badbury is different. It’s smaller, in a village with an active and supportive community and running it alongside The Sun gives us the opportunity to build the business up. Thanks to the former landlords, we have a good customer base on which we can build. Perhaps we should call it our ‘country retreat’, thought it’s much more than that.”
Richard Turner, Arkell’s Community Liaison Manager, appointed by the brewery in March this year, began working with the previous landlords in April when they needed to retire from the pub and find alternative accommodation due to poor health
“For some long-term landlords who live ‘above the shop’, it can be difficult to plan for the future,” said Richard. “As a family brewery we value our landlords and my job was to help them. As I saw it I had two responsibilities: To the landlords seeking to move on and to the villagers, who wanted to know what was going on.”
Badbury villagers didn’t need any encouragement to become involved and, having followed the recent story of another Arkell’s pub in the media, The Rose & Crown at Ashbury, where locals rose up to support the brewery in finding a new landlord, the residents of Badbury decided to do the same thing.
Badbury villager, Peter Hayman, said: “I’ve lived in the village for 34 years and worn out three tankards in The Baker’s Arms over that time. It has always been a gathering place for the local community. When we heard that new landlords were being sought, we got in touch with Arkell’s and pledged our renewed support for the pub and for the new landlords.”
He added: “We value the pub as the centre of the village and hope that many of the 300+ other Badbury villagers will take the opportunity return and meet Dave and Becky.”
Brewery chairman, James Arkell, is delighted that Dave and Becky are so enthusiastic: “They are just what The Baker’s Arms needs,” he said. “It’s wonderful to have a young couple in there, welcoming back families and children, and great to see the enthusiasm of the Badbury villagers – many of which have already dropped in to say hello to the new landlords.
“The Baker’s Arms is definitely rising again.”