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Time Please! Derbyshire Licensees Receive Prestigious Long Service Award
News , Awards
The licensees of The Chequers Inn at Stanton by Dale have received a prestigious long service award to mark their 20th anniversary at the pub. Ilkeston born-and-bred Ian and Sue Moon – who both turn 60 this year – are now aiming to clock up a further decade at the helm.
The award from the pub’s owners – Star Pubs & Bars – recognises the contribution the Moons have made to the community. Since taking The Chequers on in 1991, the couple have restored it as a hub of local life and established its reputation as a quintessential village pub offering great cask ales and home-cooked food. The pub is known for giving back to the area it serves. Over the years the Moons and their customers have raised more than £15,000 for Ilkeston based charity Ben’s Den, which organises holidays for terminally ill children.
When the pandemic hit, Ian and Sue took a positive approach launching takeaway draught beer to spread some good cheer in Stanton by Dale. Concerned to keep The Chequers thriving for the long term, the couple also seized the opportunity to undertake a £50,000 internal and external refurbishment, doing much of the work themselves to make it more affordable. Lockdown 1 saw the duo create a stunning 48-seater outdoor covered space complete with heating, festoon lighting and a stage for musicians. The Moons completed the effect by replanting the garden with a beautiful floral display. In lockdown 2 the couple lovingly renovated the cosy 1800’s pub, exposing original features such as brickwork and beams, whilst making it more comfortable and contemporary.
Former customers of The Chequers, Ian and Sue admit that they took the pub “on a whim” and without any experience when the previous landlord told them he was leaving. Says Ian: “It’s a beautiful old pub with a wonderful atmosphere, we couldn't resist it.” Two decades later the couple have no regrets. Continues Ian: “We absolutely love running The Chequers, and the best part is our loyal team of staff and friendly customers. We hated being forced to close by covid. Many of our regulars have become fantastic friends. We couldn’t wait to reopen and see them again. Revamping the pub was our way of showing our thanks to our customers for their support and giving the village something to look forward to at a difficult time. We tried to add the wow factor, and the response has been amazing.”
Sue had another surprise for customers when The Chequers reopened after lockdown 2. Inspired by attending a falconry experience day, she bought and trained her own Harris hawk. Ken is now a much-loved member of The Chequers’ team and performs flying displays for customers.
Looking to the future the Moons say their greatest wish is for The Chequers to remain a vital part of Stanton by Dale in the years to come. Adds Sue: “It’s our dream to pass it on to one of our family on our 30th anniversary.”
Comments Star Pubs & Bars area manager Amanda Bloor: “This award is well deserved, and it’s an honour to present it. Ian and Sue have put their hearts and souls into The Chequers and built it up into a fantastic traditional pub where customers are assured of a perfect pint, a warm welcome and good pub food cooked from scratch by Sue. Their care and attention is second to none. It’s brilliant news for Stanton by Dale that the Moons have taken another 10-year lease on The Chequers.”
The Chequers was originally part of a row of cottages. By the 1840s it had become a grocery shop and beer house. Draught beer was served straight from wooden barrels covered with wet towels to chill it until 1970. In that year the pub was extended to its current foot print, a temperature-controlled cellar was installed and a car park added.