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New lease of life for Norwich pub

PUBLISHED: 07:14 03 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:22 02 July 2010

Regulars at the Canary Pub in Heartsease  toast landlady Lindsay Maher for reviving for the fortunes of their local

Regulars at the Canary Pub in Heartsease toast landlady Lindsay Maher for reviving for the fortunes of their local

Peter Walsh

Regulars at a Norwich pub which was ravaged by fire less than two years ago prompting fears about its future have today hailed the arrival of a new landlady who they say has given them their local back.

Regulars at a Norwich pub which was ravaged by fire less than two years ago prompting fears about its future have today hailed the arrival of a new landlady who they say has given them their local back.

Fire swept through the Canary pub in Watling Road, Heartsease, in what was thought to be an arson attack in May 2008, forcing the badly-damaged venue to close.

It re-opened eight months later but locals still harboured concerns that the once thriving community pub might become yet another victim of the harsh economic climate.

But landlady Lindsay Maher, who once ran the Horse and Dray in Ber Street, is being heralded by regulars for helping to turn around the pub and ensure that it is here to stay for years to come.

Since she arrived 13 weeks ago Mrs Maher has worked hard to brighten up the pub both inside and out with football shirts being hung from the ceiling in the main sports bar and hanging baskets in the car park.

The new landlady has also tried to make the most of the pub's sizeable function room by reviving it at a venue for live music and parties. The pub will also be hosting a car boot sale on Monday.

Mrs Maher has thrown the doors open to welcome all sections of the community.

George Wright, 35, a civil engineer who lives on the Heartsease estate, said: “I've been coming to this pub for 15 years. It's the main pub on the estate. We thought it was going to shut down but the people who took over have really turned it round - we think it will survive now.

“They've brought a lot of the older people back. They've brought it back to life. They are trying to get live music back in here and it's all good.”

Debbie Palmer, 46, who lives on the estate, said: “To be honest I didn't ever think it was going to get back on its feet since it got burned down.

“But since Lindsay's been here she's made a real big effort with the pub and made an effort with all the different types of people - the younger ones and the older ones. It's not a youngsters' pub or an older person's pub - it has come back to being a community pub and it's a long time since it's been that. It's a pleasant place to come again now.”

Keith Mallett, 76, who also lives on the Heartsease estate, said: “I've used this pub since 1979. It's great now. I've got all my friends back that were disappearing when it got burnt down.”

Mrs Maher said she has been “blown away” by the support of the locals since she arrived at the helm and hopes she can continue to make it a place where people want to be. She said: “They really love this pub and have given me lots of support.”

The band Egypt will be playing at the Canary pub on Friday, April 9. To find out more or to book the venue call 01603 438966.

The Evening News has urged people to support their local pub through its Love Your Local campaign. For more stories log onto www.eveningnews24.co.uk and click on campaigns.

Have you helped breathe new life into a city pub? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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