A LANDLORD has spoken of his anguish at having to shut his pub permanently due to the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

Tim Churchman, landlord at The Bridge Inn in Tibberton, has announced that the pub has ceased trading.

Mr Churchill said: “It is very sad, a real shame. I made my life in that village, and I will now have to start again.

"For years I have battled ongoing heart disease - maybe now is the time for me to hang up my landlord hat.

“We have had incredible support, I have made some really good friends from the place.Tibberton still has that rare community spirit. I wish the place well, I would love to go in there on the other side of the bar.”

Speaking to the Worcester News earlier this month, the 55-year-old had warned that the chances of his surviving the lockdown were low, following the loss of income during lockdown.

Mr Churchill, who lives in Droitwich, said he now feared for the future of similar watering holes.

“The British village pub will find it hard if they are told they can only open with social distancing rules applied,” he said.

“Would that have knocked my trade by 30 or 40 per cent? Probably. This could affect one in three pubs.”

Announcing the closure on the pub’s Facebook page, Mr Churchill wrote: “May 27 would have marked two years since I made the decision to take over The Bridge Inn.

“This message would normally be a big celebratory one, sadly it is not that way.

“I have made a difficult decision to cease trading, and have asked the owners of the building, Hawthorn Leisure, that we complete a formal handover.

“This decision for me, personally, has not been easy – I have loved my time here. The manner in which the villagers got behind us overwhelmed me, and the way in which you made my family and I extremely welcome has been humbling.

“I am saddened that we will be unable to say goodbye in person. I wish that The Bridge Inn will take on a new lease of life and prosper, when and if we ever get out of this pandemic.”

Following the post, regulars posted over a 100 messages wishing Tim and his family well.

Robbie Hazlehurst said: “You did such a great job of rescuing the place when it was clearly on its knees and created a pub that once again became the hub of the village.”

Alle Goodman added: “Sad news for The Bridge and the village. It’s been great having you and your family around and you will be sorely missed.”

Meanwhile a Worcester pub popular with the LGBT+ community is “hopeful” of reopening in June.

But Lee Winter, from the The Flag in Lowesmoor, is calling for the two metre social distancing rule to be reduced to one metre as he said it would be damaging to its income to try and enforce it.

“I understand why Boris Johnson and the government had to be overzealous, I understand why some things have had to be done,” he said.

“But if the two metre rule is not relaxed, we will be stuffed. We are not playing victim here, we are in a fight for survival like everybody else. We took the moral decision to close (before the forced closure of pubs and bars).

“Staff here have been preparing to re-open. We have gloves and hand sanitiser to do our work and hopefully we can open in June.

“We will also look at the new and inventive things they come up with that can stop the spread, and see if we can put those in.

“This is more than a pub, it is a community hub.”

People are still able to support The Flag’s crowdfunding website at crowdfunder.co.uk/theflag.

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