Work starts on £200,000 bid to revitalise pub

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The Royal Oak in Sudbury is being given a £200,000 facelift as its new tenants, Andy and Donna Ashworth, prepare to move in.

The couple, who live in Hadleigh but have connections with Sudbury, are planning to keep the pub business in the family.

Their two sons and daughter will work there. Jamie, 19, will be head chef, and Scott, 17, will be an apprentice chef. Their daughter Charlotte, 16, will also join them when she finishes school.

Work has already begun on the refurbishment by owners Punch Taverns in partnership with new licensees Andy and Donna, and the revamp will include a new decor in keeping with the character of the 17th century inn, due to be finished by the end of August.

Donna, who was born in Sudbury, has several years’ experience in the pub industry. She said: “We saw the opportunity to bring the Royal Oak back to the community with some fantastic food and great ale. The pub will be a traditional family-run venue.“

The couple plan to move from Hadleigh to live over the pub.

Andy, currently an HGV driver, has worked at Sudbury Conservative Club and Long Melford’s British Legion.

He said.“We will be offering something different. We look forward to putting the Great back into British pubs.”