Pub in Taverham, near Norwich, gets proper pub sign - thanks to lunchtime regulars

A popular Taverham landlord who was celebrating his 40th birthday returned from holiday to find that his lunchtime regulars had paid for and erected a proper pub sign outside the boozer.

The original pub sign at the Silver Fox in Fakenham Road was knocked down many years ago and never replaced.

And to celebrate landlord John Veale's 40th birthday, lunchtime regulars at the pub paid for and then erected the new sign, which cost several hundred pounds and was in place when he returned from holiday.

One of the pub's customers, Anthony Gifford, from Taverham, said: 'It was the landlord's 40th birthday. The pub has not had a pub sign for a long time, so some of the pub's lunchtime regulars decided to get a new sign.

'It was a nice personal gesture and the principle behind it was really moving.

'The group of regulars, which included 'Liverpool Bob', who did a lot of research into what the pub sign should look like, arranged for Mr Veale's wife to take him on holiday, and then for the sign to be up when he got back.

'I think there were six customers who each contributed about �100 towards the sign, which depicts a fox and is very tastefully done.

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'It has also got a stainless steel fitting to minimise the amount of maintenance it will need in the future.'

Mr Veale said he was very touched by the gesture.

He said: 'I think it's brilliant. It was totally unexpected.

'I think the old sign was knocked down and never replaced.'

The Evening News has been urging customers to return to pubs in our Love Your Local campaign.

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Pub of the year update

The final stages of judging is under way for the Norwich Evening News' Pub of the Year awards.

Hundreds of people in the greater Norwich area nominated their favourite pubs with 35 different establishments getting the nod.

The pub with the most nominations was the Coach and Horses in Thorpe Road, which was nominated by more than 130 people. The other pubs in the last four are The Fat Cat in West End Street, run by landlord Colin Keatley; the Trafford Arms in Grove Road whose landlord Chris Higgins, takes over from the Evening News's Derek James as Sheriff of Norwich today; and the Kings Arms in Hall Road, which is popular spot for real-ale drinkers.

The awards are being judged by Norwich pub historian Derek McDonald and Evening News' Love Your Local reporter David Bale.

Each of the four finalists asre being visited by Mr McDonald and Mr Bale, who will then choose the winner, which will be announced later this year.The winner of the competition will get the chance to brand its pub The Norwich Pub of the Year 2011.