Former landlords thank village community

Former Landlords at the Cock Inn, Wivelsfield Green, David and Jo Hunter. Pictured with their children, L to R Harry, 2, Edward, 9 and Charlie, 5. Photo by Derek Martin

Former Landlords at the Cock Inn, Wivelsfield Green, David and Jo Hunter. Pictured with their children, L to R Harry, 2, Edward, 9 and Charlie, 5. Photo by Derek Martin

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Former landlords of a village pub have thanked the community for all their support over the last eight years.

David and Jo Hunter bought the Cock Inn in Wivelsfield Green in 2008 - but have now decided to sell it on due to family reasons.

The Royal Wedding street party held at The Cock Inn in 2011

The Royal Wedding street party held at The Cock Inn in 2011

They opened the doors to the pub for the last time on Saturday February 4 and welcomed around 200 people.

“We opened the pub as usual and loads of people came down to say thank you” said David. “It was a lovely night.

“Myself and Jo would like to thank all of our customers and staff for their support over the years.

“Without them this business would not have been able to grow and we are extremely grateful.”

David and Jo celebrated the birth of two sons whilst living in the pub – Charlie in 2012 and Harry in 2014 – who joined David’s nine-year old son Edward from a previous marriage.

“It got to a stage where we couldn’t put 100 per cent of our concentration into the pub because of the children” added David.

“We realise the children have to come first so we had to make a decision on what to do with the pub.

“Before we put it on sale, we told our nearest and dearest and informed all of the staff.

“They were scared about what may happen to their jobs but they go with the pub and, thankfully, have continued working there.

“Once we put the pub on sale it was there for everyone to see so we wanted to make sure people close to us heard it from us.”

The pub was sold to Sam Earl and Andy Weskett – a couple from the area.

“We are confident Sam and Andy will do a fantastic job. They are a couple who will continue the family feel of the pub.

“When we moved in, we were welcomed by the whole community as we were local and not some large company looking to make loads of money. Sam and Andy also have this advantage.

“Our staff will also continue working at the pub and they will be able to advise on things I’m sure.”

Over the eight years, David and Jo have hosted a number of events for the community including street parties for the Royal Wedding, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Lisa Lucking, a friend of the Hunter family, who moved to the area shortly after they purchased the pub, put together a book thanking the family for the last eight years.

The book features pictures of events at the pub as well as memories from adoring customers.

One comment said: “You came into the village and took over a run down village pub and turned it around.

“You have made many friends and I’m sure that will still remain and that we are sure of. You have worked so hard to raise a brilliant community spirit in the village.

“You had the boys and now it’s time to move on and give more time to raising your family, Charlie, Harry and Ed.”

The Hunter family has now moved to nearby Newick and David is now looking to get back into his previous passion of agriculture.

He added: “We would like to say a massive thank you to all our customers and staff. Without you we couldn’t have done it.”