How part of Lowestoft’s Suffolk Punch sign made its way to Thailand island
PUBLISHED: 17:26 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:26 21 May 2019
Sitting high above the jungle hills on a small island in Thailand, a memento of a much-loved Lowestoft pub stands tall.
After its closure in 2016, the letters of the Suffolk Punch sign were salvaged from the site by nostalgic pubgoers.
Now, thousands of miles away in Asia, the letter K is proudly on display.
For homeowner Jamie King, who settled on the island after leaving the UK, the letter is a fond reminder of his old watering hole.
Originally from Lowestoft, Mr King's family moved to Iran aged 9, before returning to Carlton Colville and Pakefield.
He said: "Surprisingly, I have not had a single person here ask me about why there is a letter K up on the house.
"The house is called Baan King, meaning the King's House, so I guess they think the K is there for that, without knowing the true history of that much-travelled letter.
"I know some of the other boys have some letters as well in the Lowestoft region, so if you see a large red letter up on someone's house it could be a Suffolk Punch memento."
The former Kirkley High School pupil reflects fondly on his childhood in Lowestoft.
He said: "I had a varied upbringing in terms of being able to compare Lowestoft to elsewhere. We had running drinking water in Lowestoft, something we didn't have overseas, and still don't.
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"I have good memories of Lowestoft as a child though, living by the sea is a great place to be wherever you are.
"After leaving school and being a south-end working teenager, the Punch soon became the meeting place once we had outgrown the youth clubs on Morton Road and Colville House.
"The punch was a great place with some great memories. It had a real community spirit with some real characters in there from the town, both young and old.
"We often used to sit and listen to Bimbo Martin's old tales. I am sure many in the town remember Albert, a terrific guy. My great-uncle Wilf even used to play the piano there before I frequented the Punch.
"I can remember the pub used to have a little hatch for a separate off-licence where you could get a 'take-away' drink, but there were very strict licensing hours back then and the pub always shut in the afternoon, which seems very strange now.
"The public bar was the rowdy bit, albeit friendly jokes at someone's expense, where the fun and games used to take place, and the lounge was where you went for a more civilised time."
After leaving the UK in 2010 to develop his oil and gas consultancy company, Mr King settled on the island of Koh Samui in the gulf of Thailand.
He said: "I started off in the Middle East and that year we went on a golf trip to Thailand.
"Straight away I was pretty sure the Far East was where I was going to end up, and spent a couple of years travelling around to see if there was anywhere better than Thailand.
"Once I came to the island I knew home had been found.
"Thailand is a wonderful place and the Middle East is great. Our small island is very different to the pace and frenzy of Bangkok, and it is like being on holiday every day living on Koh Samui."
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