Landlord celebrates 25 years at Sussex village pub

May is a major milestone for licensee Phil Shoubridge who is celebrating 25 years as landlord of The Crown at Turners Hill.

He has been given a prestigious long service award by Star Pubs & Bars in recognition of the contribution he has made to the community.

To mark the occasion, he invited 150 regulars, former bar staff and local friends to a celebratory party ‘on the house’ with barbecue and live entertainment to say thank you.

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Phil’s connection with The Crown goes back beyond his 25 years as landlord to over 40 years.

Phil Shoubridge, licensee at The Crown, Turners Hill with from left, Richard Jakeman, Bruce Deacon, Ian Pullin, and Tony Martin.

He said: “I used to get off the school bus and help mum in the kitchen and was a barman at the pub for three years when I turned 18.

"It was pure coincidence years later when the lease for the pub came up. I leapt at the chance to take it on as I knew it was a lovely pub with potential in a great area and would be a good place to bring up children.

"I’m still serving customers today who have been coming here for 60 years and remember me working behind the bar as a youngster. Most of the teenagers in the area have worked for me while I have been here.”

When Phil took on the business, it was operating as a restaurant only but he turned The Crown, which dates back to the 1500s, back into a local village pub.

Phil Shoubridge, licensee at The Crown, Turners Hill with from left, Richard Jakeman, Bruce Deacon, Ian Pullin, Lindsay Worger and Tony Martin.

Phil added: “I love just spending time in this wonderful old building though I am fully aware that I am just a steward of it.

"Coincidentally a distant relative was once the landlord of The Crown. It is also where my brother met his wife, and my daughter met her fiancé. It has played an important part in my family’s history.

“It’s been a very enjoyable 25 years and I have made lots of friends. Thank you to my partner Lindsay who has helped me over the last couple of years especially and to everyone else - our staff and customers - for their support.

"It was a brilliant day. So many people turned up and it just reminded me of how many lovely people we have gathered along the way. The cake was fantastic. It was specially made for the occasion and included a tap dispensing real ale.”

As for the future, Phil doesn’t intend retiring imminently though envisages handing over the stewardship of The Crown to someone else in the next five years.

He said: “The lockdown gave me a taste for what life was like having evenings off. It will be interesting to come to The Crown as a punter when I do retire, though I’ll find it hard not to help out.”

Star Pubs & Bars area manager, Ron Barnes, added: “Congratulations to Phil on his 25 years at The Crown and 35 years in the pub industry.

"He is a great publican and has continued the tradition of The Crown being a launching pad for many young people venturing into the world of work.

“It’s a real tribute to Phil’s great hospitality, passion and commitment that The Crown is so popular. So thank you for your hard work over the years and here’s to an enjoyable few years ahead still at the helm.”