Pub of the week: the Canary and Linnet at Little Fransham
Archant © 2014
When Lynsey Rush first stepped into the Canary and Linnet, it was love at first sight – and she was determined to give the pub the attention she felt it deserved.
The mum-of-one has worked in the pub industry for 20 years and had decided she wanted to run her own establishment with her mum Jacqui and dad Allan.
Having looked at a number of different pubs, the trio headed to Norfolk from Milton Keynes to look at the Canary and Linnet on the A47 at Little Fransham – and they fell in love with it straightaway.
Now, 10 months down the line, they have transformed it from into somewhere which is considered to be the heart of the community.
Ms Rush, who has a six-year-old son Jake, said: “When we came in, it was the kind of place you could just fall in love with and get an idea of what you wanted to do with it and achieve.
“Trade was very poor here at first, there would be days when not a single soul would pass through the door. We completely redecorated the place, cleared the front and back gardens, refitted the cellar, put in a new entertainment and brought in a new menu, going back to basics.
“We listened to what people wanted and they said they wanted a pub that did pub grub and a bit of entertainment so that’s what we’ve done.”
The Canary and Linnet is now home to a weekly barbecue night every Wednesday, quiz nights, live bands, charity race nights and regular entertainment.
As there are no facilities in the village itself, Ms Rush has also started to sell “emergency essentials” such as toilet roll, tea bags, milk and sugar to save villagers a 12-mile round trip to either Dereham or Swaffham.
Loving our local
• Colin Horsley, 76, said: “You always get a welcome and a smile, they are lovely people. I call it ‘my club’ as the banter is so friendly and I love chatting to people. Lynsey has made it a place you want to come for a chat and they do things to make people feel comfortable.”
• Matthew Price, 42, said he enjoyed the food, company, music and the quizzes. He said: “They have always made me feel welcome from the first time I came in.”
• Dianne Horsley, 68, said: “They have changed the atmosphere of the village. It’s a community pub and I feel comfortable here. It’s very friendly and we have made friends.”
“There is a lot of talk about bringing pubs back as the heart of communities again and that’s what we are trying to do,” said the 38-year-old.
“We get a lot of passing trade as well as locals and that’s certainly picked up.”
Originally a blacksmith’s cottage, the Canary and Linnet first became a pub in 1953.
The brewery bought the cottage, which is situated on the A47 exactly half way between Norwich and King’s Lynn – hence its name, Canary to represent the nickname of Norwich City Football Club and Linnet in honour of King’s Lynn Football Club – and the forge next door which was turned into a cafe.
The pub took over the licence from the Chequers in Beeston and its original landlord was John Jurdon. The Canary and Linnet became the main stop on the A47 for Trent buses going into Great Yarmouth.
The cafe burned down and the brewery sold it off. It then sold the pub off. The pub runs as a freehold.