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Ship Inn recovering from stormy times

PUBLISHED: 14:26 08 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:18 03 March 2010

AFTER facing the roughest times of their lives, Bill and Shirley Waite are hoping it will be plain sailing from now on.

As licensees of the Ship Inn at Levington, Mr and Mrs Waite have endured a torrid nine months since their beloved pub was destroyed by fire last May.

AFTER facing the roughest times of their lives, Bill and Shirley Waite are hoping it will be plain sailing from now on.

As licensees of the Ship Inn at Levington, Mr and Mrs Waite have endured a torrid nine months since their beloved pub was destroyed by fire last May.

The couple are now ready to close that chapter of their life and are ready to begin a whole new one with the pub due to fully re-open in two months time.

"We are planning a big party to celebrate with friends and loyal customers and it will be nice to see the pub back to the way it used to be.

"It's going to be a shock to the system but one that I am looking forward to," said Mrs Waite.

However, progress is being made with work at last having begun on the historic thatched building. The roof timbers have been erected and the thatch is due to be laid in the next couple of weeks and all things being well, it is hoped that the pub will be restored to its former glory by April.

"We expect to fully re-open sometime over the Easter holiday and we are planning a big party to celebrate.

"The events last year knocked us for six and it seemed like our world had caved in. But after the initial shock we managed to pull ourselves together and started to think about the future.

"The people of Levington have been a tremendous support to us. Everyone pulled together and rallied around us and kept us going through what was a very difficult and emotional time," said Mrs Waite.

According to Mr Waite, the last nine months have felt more like nine years, and there were some extremely frustrating times.

"It has taken longer than we anticipated because the building is grade two listed and English Heritage are extremely careful to ensure that the pub is restored to exactly how it was.

"The worst is over and we are looking forward to April when we fully re-open," said Mr Waite.

Since the fire, which caused approximately £100,000 of damage, work and life has changed for Mr and Mrs Waite who have been tirelessly trying to get the pub up and running.

The Ship Inn did re-open in August last year but only to a quarter of its capacity.

Mr and Mrs Waite admit that one of the saddest effects of the fire was having to lose seven members of staff who they could not afford to keep on.

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