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Corley Moor Publican Honoured for Long Service
Awards , News
The publican of a much-loved Corley Moor pub has been honoured with a prestigious award to celebrate her 20th anniversary at the helm. Anne Huckvale – who first worked at the Bull & Butcher as a member of the bar staff in the early 1970s – is now extending her lease for a further ten years.
The award from the Bull & Butcher’s owners, Star Pubs & Bars, Anne’s service to the pub and the community throughout the last two decades. Over the years, Anne – who has lived in Corley Moor for nearly 60 years – has converted the Bull & Butcher from a little-used struggling local into the centre of village life as well as a destination country pub for people from further afield.
Anne has retained the traditional public bar – complete with flagstone floors, old beams, real fires and cosy snugs – as a meeting place for residents and created a restaurant with a reputation for home-cooked pub food. Sunday roasts, the pie of the day (such as, minted lamb, rabbit and steak & ale), and a full English breakfast served until 11am are particular favourites with customers. Outside, Anne has transformed the large garden, adding a covered patio, children’s play area and an animal farm that is home to a miniature 36-inch horse, two guinea pigs, two ponies and six rescue donkeys. Eyore the donkey is the star of the show.
Under Anne’s stewardship the pub has started up a host of events that are now staples of the community, from a three-day Easter Egg hunt and St George’s Day tea to music festivals and regular summer children’s inflatable days. An annual bonfire night with fireworks attracts 1,000 people, whilst more than 500 attend Christmas carols outside the pub with Coventry Brass band. Funds raised from events go to the pub’s nominated charity, the Air Ambulance Service. On a daily basis, the Bull & Butcher keeps an eye out for elderly residents and is also a place villagers can rely on to pick up messages, collect parcels or leave keys.
Anne – who previously worked as a national organiser for the British Farriers & Blacksmiths Association – has not lost any of her enthusiasm for keeping the Bull & Butcher thriving. Says Anne: “My family thought I was mad when I took over the Bull & Butcher having never run a pub, but I’ve not regretted one day of it. There are no shops in Corley Moor, so the pub is really important to maintain community spirit. I saw the Bull & Butcher was in difficulties and had a vision of reinstating it as a hub of the village where all ages are welcome. There’s never a dull moment. I wish I’d kept a diary. I love my customers who’ve become firm friends, my fantastic team who provide the backing I need and my life running the pub. I’ll have to be carried out of the Bull & Butcher feet first!”
Continues Anne, “We’re in very trying times at the moment, and good local pubs are more important than ever for lifting morale. People can unwind, enjoy a chat and a laugh or talk through any problems. A problem shared is a problem halved but, if it can be solved, there’s always ‘a man who can’ amongst the regulars at the Bull & Butcher.”
Comments Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager for Coventry Nathan Darby: “It’s a great honour to present this award. Anne is one in a million, and the Bull & Butcher is a very special pub. Anne’s energy, passion and commitment to her staff and customers never waver. We wish her many more happy years at the pub!”