Tragedy turns to triumph for popular pub landlady Juliet Ridgeon of the Kingfisher Pub in Chantry
A popular landlady at one of Ipswich’s most thriving pubs has expressed her gratitude to residents after clinching two community awards, two years after the death of her husband.
Juliet Ridgeon, 53, who runs the Kingfisher pub in Chantry won the Best Bar None award for best community/family friendly pub last month, and has followed it up with second place in the regional Enterprise Community Heroes awards.
The most recent accolade saw the pub come second out of 54 pubs in the region, and has earned the establishment a £1,500 grant for community projects.
Mrs Ridgeon, said: “We are so pleased.
“The Best Bar None award is great, and the enterprise one is something we can use as we have money to spend on more community projects.”
Mrs Ridgeon and her husband Kevin took over the rundown space six years ago.
Together they turned its fortunes around from being a neglected and empty building, to a thriving community pub.
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“Nobody thought it could be done, but we were quietly confident,” Mrs Ridgeon added.
The much-loved landlady suffered a devastating loss in September 2013, when Kevin died from injuries he suffered when he fell backwards off the articulated truck he drove.But in light of the pub’s burgeoning awards success, Mrs Ridgeon has thanked the community for their support over the last two years.
“To be able to continue after the loss of my husband a few years ago, and to have our customers stand by us has been wonderful.
“I really think a lot of the credit goes to the customers that support what we do.”
Among the pub’s community work has been a host of charity events, which has raised £24,000 for good causes, as well as community events, funeral receptions and surgeries for Ipswich MP Ben Gummer.
“I think supporting the community is really important,” Mrs Ridgeon said.
“We are here for them and happy to supply things for them free of charge, and moving forward we are looking to do a bit more music for youngsters.”
Mrs Ridgeon aims to invest the £1,500 grant into music equipment for young people, to help those who cannot afford their own instruments take part, and boost its under-18 jam sessions.
Mrs Ridgeon concluded: “Things are better now than they were a year ago.
“We are on the up which is a really nice place to be, and that is down to the support around us.”