Cheers as country pub re-opens after being closed for three years

A country pub between Horsham and Crawley which has been closed for three and a half years has finally re-opened - to the delight of locals.

Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 11:33 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:36 am
Ritchie Gatt, Barbara Stevens and Coral Gatt SUS-160524-102900001
Ritchie Gatt, Barbara Stevens and Coral Gatt SUS-160524-102900001

The Frog and Nightgown in Wimland Road, Faygate, closed its doors at the end of 2012 following the death of landlady Janet Reynolds who had run the pub with her husband Jim since the 1980s.

Coral and Ritchie Gatt - friends of Janet - bought the pub in December and have spent the past few months refurbishing it and it is now being run by their son Lewis Gatt together with his girlfriend Joely Williams - and pub dog Otto.

Help will also be on hand when needed from both families’ sisters and parents.

Lewis Gatt and Joely Williams at the Frog and Nightgown SUS-160524-095441001

Lewis, 23, who fondly remembers celebrating his 18th birthday at the Frog and Nightgown, said: “We plan to keep it as a real community pub.”

And the community are delighted. A group of them set up a special Facebook page, dubbing themselves the Displaced Froglets, as a way of keeping in contact after the pub closed.

As it re-opened on Saturday, they messaged: “Back to the pond.”

Joely, whose family is from Tilgate in Crawley, said the pub would retain its country roots: “We just want to serve craft beers and local ales from local breweries - there are over 50 in Sussex.”

And along with the beers, there will be Wobblegate Cider from Bolney and pork pies and sausage rolls from local producers.

And even your dog will never go hungry at the Frog and Nightgown. “We’re pet friendly,” said Joely. They even have a pet ‘treat jar’ sponsored by R&H Pet Supplies in Roffey.

Lewis added: “We want to be a bit different.”

And it is. Previously, the pub was described as ‘more like someone’s front room’ than a pub. “We want to keep it that way.”

So, although refurbished, the pub has retained many of its previous features, including an old record player with many fond memories for locals.

Lewis and Joely also plan to hold quiz nights, open mic nights, a classic car show, live music, wine tasting, Morris dancing, and more. “Just things that draw people together,” said Joely.

The couple also plan to open a tea room at the pub at the end of June - and performing the opening ceremony will be Barbara Stevens, sister of late landlady Janet Reynolds.