Ship Inn back in business

ONE of Suffolk's best-loved pubs was fully reopening today – without an empty glass in sight!The Ship Inn at Levington officially re-opened after fire ripped through its thatch nearly a year ago.

By Georgina James

ONE of Suffolk's best-loved pubs was fully reopening today – without an empty glass in sight!

The Ship Inn at Levington officially re-opened after fire ripped through its thatch nearly a year ago.

Landlords Bill and Shirley Waite could not stop smiling and had to pinch themselves to make sure they weren't dreaming to really believe this momentous day had at last arrived.


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Eleven months ago re-opening the pub seemed an impossibility but through dogged determination, relentless hard work and perseverance, the grade II listed building has been beautifully restored to its former glory.

"Obviously it's been a very difficult year," said Mrs Waite.

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"It seemed out of reach at one stage but to see it up and running again it fantastic. We are totally thrilled.

"We wavered a little before Christmas and thought about throwing the towel in but when the building work finally got underway we were glad we persevered and haven't looked back since."

More than 50 specially invited guests joined Mr and Mrs Waite today at their grand party to celebrate.

Among the invites were many kind-hearted neighbours and friends who have supported the couple through a torrid 11 months.

"The whole village has been superb and we couldn't have managed without their help and moral support," said Mrs Waite.

The fire started in the chimney of the pub in May last year and the cost of restoring the pub has been estimated at £120,000.

More than 80 firefighters from across Suffolk were called to the historic pub, which took six hours to bring the fire under control.

"To look at the pub, you wouldn't know it had been savaged by fire.

"Both the builders and thatchers have performed miracles and the pub looks absolutely gorgeous," said a proud Mrs Waite.

Although the Ship Inn is back in business, the pub will for the time being only be serving food at lunchtime. The popular restaurant will re-open in the evening as soon as a full set of staff has been recruited.

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