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Suffolk village pub steps in to support residents isolated in homes in Brandeston

PUBLISHED: 19:00 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:40 16 March 2020

The Queen at Brandeston is supporting the village through the coronavirus crisis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Queen at Brandeston is supporting the village through the coronavirus crisis. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The popular pub at the heart of a Suffolk village is repaying the support of the community by trying to help its customers get through the coronavirus crisis with home delivery and food-box service around the village.

Caroline Aitchison,Dan Payne,Alexander Aitchison,Harriet Aitchison at The Queen in Brandeston. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCaroline Aitchison,Dan Payne,Alexander Aitchison,Harriet Aitchison at The Queen in Brandeston. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Queen at Brandeston, near Framlingham, is very popular with villagers who regularly get together to eat there – but numbers have started to fall off because of the crisis. And the prospect of over-70s being told to self-isolate at home prompted it to offer deliveries to residents in the village.

It is also buying basic supplies from its wholesalers and boxing them up to deliver them to customers in the village who are not able reach shops.

Pub owner Caroline Aitchison who runs The Queen with her son Alexander and daughter Harriet said they were making the move to repay the village for its support for the pub since they took over five years ago.

She said: “There are a significant number of our customers who come from the village and there is a group that comes here every Sunday night – and said this week that they might not be able to come again for a time because many of them are over 70.

The Brandeston Queen has recently been refurbished - but the coronavirus crisis has led to a fall in the number of customers. Picture: ALEXANDER AITCHISONThe Brandeston Queen has recently been refurbished - but the coronavirus crisis has led to a fall in the number of customers. Picture: ALEXANDER AITCHISON

“We do a takeaway service, but we’re now extending this to delivery in the village for those people who aren’t able to get out and collect their meals. We’re also making up the boxes of essential supplies which we can deliver around the village to people who are not able to leave their homes.”

More on how the coronavirus, Covid-19, is affecting the region

Mrs Aitchison said the pub continued to open as normal, although the number of people visiting was down on this time last year and there had been several cancellations.

She said: “We are now able to support the village in this way and it is important to show community spirit like this.”

Local resident – and customer – Peter Thurlow said the village was rallying around in the face of the crisis but the plan to ask those aged over 70 to stay at home would affect a lot of residents who fell into that age range.

He said: “The Queen is very important to the village and we like having such a good pub in the heart of our community. There are a number of things we’re doing in Brandeston – but the pub’s bringing in those supplies and delivering them to people in their homes in the village is very important to us all.”

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