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Norwich pub holds party to say 'cheers' to locals for 20 years of support

PUBLISHED: 16:38 04 October 2013 | UPDATED: 20:09 05 October 2013

Chris and Glynis Higgins celebrate with champagne flutes of real ale at the Trafford Arms. Photo: Bill Smith

Chris and Glynis Higgins celebrate with champagne flutes of real ale at the Trafford Arms. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2013

A couple who have been behind the bar at a city pub for 20 years have thrown a party for locals to say cheers for their loyal support over the past two decades.

Chris Higgins and his wife Glynis officially took over the running of the Trafford Arms pub in Grove Road in January 1993.

And the couple, who have also just returned from a trip to Africa to mark their 20th wedding anniversary, decided to celebrate their tenure with a knees up for their loyal locals.

Mr Higgins said: “The overall exercise was designed to show our appreciation for the support given to us by our local community so we put the whole event on for them.

“It’s just a lovely way of putting back something into the community.

“It was very well attended and I think by and large everyone had a jolly good night.”

The party night, which was held last month, included music from the Energy Function band - an outfit which includes Mrs Higgins’ son Phil Davison - and featured a rendition of Blur’s Parklife by Mr Higgins.

Regulars were also able to sample one of the cask beers first put on by the couple at the pub after Woodforde’s agreed to make some for the occasion.

Mr Higgins said Barley Boy was first brewed by the Norfolk brewery about 20 years ago as the house ale and gets its name from a figure on the pub’s coat of arms.

Norwich was once famed for having a pub for every day of the year but numbers have fallen fast over the years following tax hikes and the introduction of legislation like the smoking ban.

But despite the pressure on pubs, as highlighted by the Norwich Evening News as part of our Love Your Local campaign, the Trafford is still proving popular with its locals.

Mr Higgins, who believes the pub is one of the last bastions of social communication, put the secret of their success down to being a proper community pub - a place with good cask beer where the locals can come and have a conversation without being drowned out by music, TV or sport.

He said: “We’ve just tried to create this into a community local and I think by and large we seem to have succeeded and we have a good rapport with the local residents.”

Mr Higgins, who revealed he is a people person who feels “privileged” to be doing the job he does, praised the Love Your Local campaign for helping to give pubs a much needed boost.

He said the campaign helped raise awareness among the public about the positive role pubs had to play.

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