Owners of a pub in Rippingale that inspired BBC Radio 4’s The Archers say they owe its survival to its regulars.
Sue and Eben Atkinson have been at the Bull Inn for 20 years. Sue started working there as a chef but the couple have owned it for the past ten years, ploughing everything they have into the country business.
Now, as they approach retirement age, they have taken the tough decision to put it on the market and they hope its historic link will be a big selling point and secure its future.
If they find new owners for the local hostelry, which offers accommodation and a restaurant as well as a hosting the post office, it will be a huge boost for the community, which once had five pubs and four shops but lost its school and now faces losing its doctors’ surgery.
Former school governor Sue said: “I’m not saying keeping it going hasn’t been hard work – only this week we had a letter saying they are putting the price of beer up.
“We’ve ploughed everything we have to keep it going and haven’t had a holiday in four years while we’ve been making it the pub it is today.
“All the rooms are hi-spec and warm and inviting – and we are lucky to have the support of regulars and local groups.
“Fortunately Eben is a painter so everything is immaculate – we just hope someone will come along and love it as much as we do.”
It was more than 60 years ago when the BBC visited Rippingale to meet local farmer Henry Burtt and talk about farming methods – discussions which led to the birth of The Archers.
Sue said: “Henry became a friend of the writer who got his ideas from listening to the farming community who came in here.
“Rippingale isn’t Ambridge, but today’s Archers fans might well be fascinated with the birthplace of the programme and visit the pub The Bull was named after. There is a lot of beautiful countryside around here for people to explore.”
The pub is open daily from 11.45am to 3pm and 6.45pm to 10pm and all day Sundays.