Pub couple calling time

A-HOY, me hearties! The landlords of one of Suffolk's most historic pubs are upping anchor and sailing off to a new life.Bill and Shirley Waite, licensees of the Ship Inn at Levington have decided to retire after more than 40 years in the trade.

By Georgina James

A-HOY, me hearties! The landlords of one of Suffolk's most historic pubs are upping anchor and sailing off to a new life.

Bill and Shirley Waite, licensees of the Ship Inn at Levington have decided to retire after more than 40 years in the trade.

The couple had planned to call time last October but delayed their departure following the fire, which savaged the grade II listed building 11 months ago.

Mrs Waite said: "We had penciled in our retirement last year but events over took those plans and we decided to put everything on hold.

"Having been in the business for nearly 42 years, we couldn't turn our back on the pub at its most critical time.

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"Walking away with just the remains of a burnt out pub to show for would have been an awful way to end what has been a fantastic career."

Mr and Mrs Waite will be leaving the picturesque village of Levington and heading north east towards Southwold as soon as new tenants for the pub are found.

Mr Waite said: "It will be a very sad day but we are looking forward to our retirement.

"Saying goodbye to both the pub and village will be a very sad day. We have enjoyed eleven fantastic years here."

Retirement plans went up in flames when fire ripped through the thatched roof nearly a year ago.

But 11 months on, and with a tremendous amount of hard work and determination, the Ship Inn fully reopened last Friday.

"Seeing the pub restored to its former glory made the last 11 months all worthwhile. The pub is back to exactly the way it was before the fire," said Mrs Waite.

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