The owners of a pub renowned for its quality of beer and food have sold the business after almost a decade at its helm.
Mitch Adams and parents Janet and Tony had been in charge of the Thatchers Arms in Mount Bures since 2006.
On Friday, they held a leaving party with pub regulars, before saying their final goodbyes on Tuesday.
“The pub has been on the market for a while but leaving has come around very quickly,” said Mitch.
“It is time for a new challenge elsewhere.”
While Mitch is on the look-out for fresh opportunities, his parents have decided to retire to spend more time on their narrowboat.
All the other staff are expected to remain in place.
“We have had an incredible journey, met some amazing people, made some wonderful friends and built a business we are extremely proud of,” said Mitch. “However, it is time to move on.”
During their time at the pub, the trio received regular recognition for their work, including being named Camra Rural Pub of the Year for Colchester and North East Essex in 2013, and picking up the Pub of the Year title for the last two years.
Mitch said the family would miss the pub, which has been taken over by Stuart and Debbie Fraser.
“Putting The Thatchers up for sale was not a decision we took lightly, but it is one we have had time to come to terms with and we hope our loyal customers and friends understand,” he said.
“We are not leaving because we don’t love it any more – we simply feel that the pub is ready for its next step, a new chapter.
“It has been really good fun and there is still plenty of time for it to grow.”
Tonight, Mitch will appear on Heston’s Great British Food on Channel 4 with celebrated chef Heston Blumenthal.
“I am really looking forward to seeing it after such a long wait,” said Mitch. “It is quite exciting.”