The landlord of a much-loved village pub in the west of Harborough district is celebrating running his inn for a remarkable 35 years this weekend.
Brian Priest has ran the ever-popular Chequers pub in Swinford, near Lutterworth, since January 1987.
The delighted veteran landlord said today: “It’s a huge achievement to have been here at the Chequers for 35 years and we’re very proud of it.
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“I came here over three decades ago with my late wife Chris and we’ve worked very hard to put our pub right at the heart of the thriving community here in Swinford.
“We love the people here and it’s extraordinary to be still going strong after all these years so many testing challenges.”
Brian said he got into the business when he took over the reins at Rugby’s historic Shakespeare pub on Queen Street from his father George Priest when he was just 21.
“And I’ve been a publican ever since, I just love it,” he said.
Brian moved to take over the Chequers in the nearby village of Swinford over the border in Leicestershire when the Shakespeare closed in 1987 after a stunning 152 years serving people.
“We have supported so many local organisations hosting events and fundraising.
“We have been the beloved home to three traditional table skittles teams as well as darts and dominos and crib teams.
“We have raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities over the years,” said Brian.
“My family and I have put everything we’ve got into running this brilliant village pub.
“How many other landlords up and down the country have been running the same pub for 35 years?
“We rolled out a barrel and partied with everyone to celebrate racking up 30 years here.
“We were all really hoping to do that again this weekend,” said Brian.
“But with Covid-19 still so prevalent in our entire community we’ve postponed celebrations to later in the year so that we can all celebrate in fantastic style!
“It’s been a rocky road at times.
“It’s not an easy business to run, it’s a lifestyle choice.
“Working all hours every day, without a day off is no mean feat.
“But the heart-warming lifelong friendships that you make and the company that we keep is a huge reward.
“We have had magnificent support from near and far, regulars who have been coming in here for a pint and a natter for years.
“Our staff here are superb and if we come up with any daft ideas they are straight onboard with them!
“We painted the pub blue and white when Leicester City won the Premier League back in 2016,” added Brian.
“We rolled a barrel three miles with the locals to celebrate 30 years.
“And we have a life size statue of me presented to me from BT Sports for winning their pub manager of the month award in 2017.
“I’ve featured on TV programmes such as Chrisley Knows Best and hosted the worm-charming championships.
“We have outdoor dining sheds, a secret garden, quiz nights, live music, a delicious menu and great beer,” said Brian.
“What more could you want from your amazing local pub?
“So please keep supporting your awesome local pub – and here’s to another 35 years at the one and only Chequers in super Swinford!”