New Norwich pub landlord’s double celebration

A new landlord who has just taken over his first tenancy hopes to be celebrating for the second time soon as his wife is expecting their second child.

Ben Shallcross reopens the Champion pub in Chapel Field Road as the new landlord today , after a clean-up.

He said: 'It's a double celebration. My wife Tess was due to give birth on Sunday. We know it's a boy and we're just waiting for the movements now.

'And this is the first pub where I've had the tenancy on my own.'

The Champion, which is owned by Lincolnshire-based brewery Bateman's, has been closed for a couple of weeks and Mr Shallcross said they had taken that time to give it a complete clean-up.

He said: 'The main element was to make it cleaner, more friendly, and a warmer environment. The back room had not been in use recently, and we have made that more serviceable.

'It was a dead space before but it's now a really nice room for intimate parties and meetings. We have cleaned the whole building from the cellar to the ceiling and refreshed it. The outside has also had a good clean-up.'

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Mr Shallcross was born at the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, just up the road from the pub in St Stephen's Road, so he's coming home, he said.

'I want to make the Champion a real ale house,' he added. 'It had a phenomenal reputation before, and there's still a lot of affection for it among the people that used it. That residue of memory is still there.

'I want to sell the best possible beer I can at the fairest prices and, come Easter, would like it to be a pie and ale house. We will use all locally sourced food.'

This is the first pub where Mr Shallcross has the tenancy on his own, although he was previously designated supervisor at the Wig and Pen in Norwich, the Chase in Thetford and the Swan in Horning.

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