Spirits move landlady to return

A LANDLADY today confessed it was spirits of a different kind that attracted her back to a troubled Ipswich pub in a bid to resurrect its reputation.

A LANDLADY today confessed it was spirits of a different kind that attracted her back to a troubled Ipswich pub in a bid to resurrect its reputation.

Sheryl McGeown has re-opened The Spread Eagle in Fore Street and rekindled her relationship with its many ghosts.

She was previously a landlady there until around three years ago and used to drink in the pub as a customer.

She said: “I love the ghosts and I love the pub. I have seen a little dog, a floating head and they play games in the cellar.

“We have all new equipment here now and everything has been getting glitches.

“I am not insane. I saw them so I am going to tell people. Something keeps drawing me back to the pub.”

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But Ms McGeown, 42, faces a deepening pub crisis and has vowed to keep her business head on as she aims to revolutionise the beleaguered boozer.

The pub was shut down for a period in 2006 by Ipswich Borough Council after a catalogue of violence.

And it closed again earlier this year for around four months due to a lack of trade.

Ms McGeown said: “The pub had a really bad reputation. We want to make it a home away from home where people feel comfortable and safe.

“People should support their local pub because the history is being lost.”

Her comments come in support of The Evening Star campaign to get people to back their local.

And they follow a renewed attack on the government by publicans in Suffolk over fears that further tax increases will drive the industry under.

Ms McGeown has now taken over the reigns again at The Spread Eagle and oversaw its refurbishment earlier this year.

She said: “We have fixed the ceilings, tidied everything up and the toilets are now inside. There is new furniture and lighting and eventually we plan to serve food.”

She added: “You have got to get through it with a lot of hard work. I will make sure it stays open.”

Are you pleased to see The Spread Eagle open again? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The 600-year-old Bell pub in Walberswick boasts a number of apparitions. And the village is arguably the most haunted in the country, with its famous ghost being that of a large black dog, which prowls the road between the vicarage and the pub.

George Orwell would have to be its most famous ghost spotter when he wrote of seeing the spectre of a small stooping man in the summer of 1931.

The Crown in Bildeston is reputed to have several ghosts. There have been sightings of old people sitting in bars, children that want to hold hands in one of the bedrooms and there's a ghost of someone who hanged himself in one of the rooms.

A man once named Fred by locals is thought to appear in The Woolpack, in Tuddenham Road, Ipswich. The pub was once an old smuggler's haunt with tunnels running from there to the dock.

PJ McGinty's in Northgate Street, Ipswich, is thought to be one of the most haunted pubs in the town. Last month, a group of ghost hunters organised a sleepover there and spoke of hearing barrels being moved in the basement and strange lights caught on camera.