'Lucky number seven' - Landlord opens 'flagship' pub in hometown
- Credit: Mick Howes
A landlord has high hopes for an historic pub after he made it the 'flagship' of his stable of seven.
With April 12 marking the return to beer gardens as pubs and restaurants in England returned to serving punters seated outside, it also signalled a new era for Steve Thornton.
Mr Thornton, of LEC Pubs, is the new tenant at The Lady of the Lake in Oulton Broad.
The popular pub on Bridge Road re-opened on Monday - and Mr Thornton is hoping that the newest pub in his business portfolio of six other pubs around the country will become his "flagship".
He said: "I am Lowestoft born and bred, having lived here most of my life.
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"I know the history and popularity of this pub and I want this to be the flagship of the portfolio.
"LEC Pubs is my business, which has been running for about 12 years, but this is my first pub to open in my hometown of Lowestoft - and it is lucky number seven."
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On Monday, Mr Thornton re-opened five of the seven pubs he oversees across the country at Cambridge, Leicester, Northamptonshire, Oakham, Wisbech and Rye.
He said: "It has been difficult but the government grants have been a great help.
"I originally had four pubs, and during the first lockdown I was able to invest in three new pubs - including The Lady of the Lake.
"All of the pubs have managers in place, and there are nine members of staff here."
Mr Thornton has already made a significant investment into the pub, and he has further plans for the future - including a return to the popular live music scene in Oulton Broad as restrictions ease in June.
The Floating Greyhounds will be the first band to play on June 25.
Mr Thornton added: "To get to where we are today I have invested in this pub, refurbishing the area outside with a new terrace.
"We have new seating areas and new electric heaters outside.
"Since day one we've spent £15,000 on the place in investment, installing a new lighting system and making investments in a new sound system.
"From weekends at the end of June we will offer live music on stage, with a mixture of bands and discos, while we will also book in functions."