Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Cumbrian golfer goes from par to bar

A CHAMPION golfer has changed course to take up running a village pub.

Hole new venture for golfer: New landlord Mike Ruddick, above, at the bar of The Queen Inn in Great Corby, inset. ‘We’ve had great support from the locals,’ said Mike

Michael Ruddick took on some of the greats during his four decades playing for the county, among them Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer.

Now the 53-year-old has reopened the Queen Inn at Great Corby near Carlisle after it was closed down for almost two years.

“I just fancied a change,” he said.

“I’d been custodian at Carlisle Golf Club for 13 years and had been looking at the Queen Inn for some time, so I just went for it.

“Obviously there’s a big difference between a private members club and a pub. This is much more challenging, but we’ve had great support from the locals.”

The couple who had run the pub previously said they were forced out by the economic downturn and illness, as well as the temporary closure of the railway bridge between Great Corby and Wetheral.

Speaking at the time, landlord Paul Jordan said: “The way things have been with the bad weather and the economy over the last few months has all contributed.

“When the bridge linking Wetheral and Great Corby was closed for 10 weeks last year, we lost 40 per cent of our trade.

“We ran the pub in a personal and hands-on way and always worked hard but my wife was seriously ill in October last year. Illness was the main reason we decided to leave.”

Meanwhile, in a business that sees a high turnover of staff, why did Michael stay at the golf club for so long?

“I just loved it. I was county champion for a while, but when I stopped playing at that level I started to consider other possibilities.”

The pub reopened on the first day of this month and so far Michael says business has been steady.

Once Christmas is out of the way, he’ll be concentrating on other events at the pub.

“There’s a separate sports bar with a big screen so we’ll be doing things for the major sporting events, for sure,” he said.

In the meantime he’s getting ready to host a party at the pub on New Year’s Eve.

Despite being closed since March 2011, Michael says the building was in remarkably good condition when he took it on, and had clearly been well looked after. He leases it from Corby Investments Ltd, which is headed by Lord Ballyedmond.

Local produce is top of the shopping list for the kitchen and the bars. Corby Ales from the brewery across the road are on tap and the menu features a number of Cumbrian specialities as well as inexpensive ‘lite bites’ on the lunch and bar menus.

More information can be found at the Queen Inn, Great Corby, Facebook page.


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