The Wheatsheaf Hotel at Swineshead had a familiar face in the bar over Christmas – its former landlord John Hewitt.
John (73) and his late wife, Rita, ran the Market Place pub between 1981 and 1986 before leaving for a new life in Cyprus.
On the day they moved to the pub, their army son, Dave, was one of the people helping them – and now, 31 years later, Dave is the man pulling the pints.
The former lorry driver switched jobs because he didn’t want to be away from home so much and The Wheatsheaf was a natural choice because it’s been his local for 30 years.
John enjoyed a tour of the family accommodation at The Wheatsheaf during his latest trip home.
Dave said: “We went upstairs and went around the rooms. He said to me ‘can you feel your mum?’
“You can feel her presence. There’s just that feeling of her being around.”
Dave said the locals nicknamed his dad and mum “Den and Angie”, after the 1980s Eastenders publicans who didn’t always see eye to eye.
“She was a fiery woman, my mum,” said Dave. “She was the boss.”
John spent Christmas 2011 at Dave’s family home in Swineshead but there was no plan at that stage for Dave to take over The Wheatsheaf.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would do this,” he said.
Dave took over as landlord in May and has already won an award for his real ale as well as winning the trust of regulars who are enjoying seeing the pub in safe hands.
Helping Dave are his son Ross (22) and daughter Carlie (23).
Dave and his teacher wife, Tracey, also have a daughter, Kirsty (19).