Sonia Cox celebrates five years in charge at the Ferry House in Surlingham this week, but she admits she was never really cut out to be a landlady, as she’s quite shy.

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It was a time of reflection at the pub this week with the fifth anniversary being celebrated last night .

Regulars at the pub, which is six miles by road from Norwich and about half an hour by boat, may not believe the landlady but she said she was really a shy person who had to act in the pub.

She said: “I never thought I would get into this line of work.

“I worked seven years at the Woods End pub in Bramerton before, and helped manage it. This pub was closed about six months before I took over. I wanted to run either a city centre or a picturesque pub, and picturesque won out.”

One of the main draws at the pub is that it’s open from 11am until late, so people always know that any time they come, they can get a good, hearty meal.

Another draw, undoubtedly, is the landlady, who speaks 100 words to the minute, and is friendliness personified. The regulars are also a friendly bunch who made me, as a stranger, very welcome.

The landlady said: “One of the things I like about running a pub is the freedom to look after people when they come in. I’ll back staff 100pc as long as they really make the customers feel welcome.

“I can spoil people in the pub. It’s all about them telling me what they want. When I first took over I was always asking people what they wanted from the pub. The main thing they told me was that they wanted it to be open and they said the village needed a pub.”

While her main job when she took over was to bring back punters and attract new ones, as soon as trade built up, it’s all been about spreading the message.

“Last Sunday we made 94 dinners and in the past we have catered for more than 100,” she said. “We get mini-buses bringing old age pensioners here and it’s popular with walkers and parties.

“We also do quizzes and folk nights and we get regulars driving out from Norwich.”

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your Local campaign.

to see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

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