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– S H OW C A S I N G O U R P E O P L E I N P R I N T – ISSUE 2 APR/MAY 2019



Read about how our logistics apprentices are helping to get our beers out on time. P7

SOMETHING DIFFERENT Kate Eaton, General Manager at The Talbot, shares her top tips for hosting an alternative pub quiz. P3



Twelve Oars manager Jaden Knight shares his tips for reducing waste.





Our menu makers were served up two top food development awards.



We’re moving more than 100 tonnes a day at our newest distribution centre in Essex.




Find out how one pub has raised more than £28,000 for charity in five months!


Mastering their craft Five brilliant brewers at our Eagle Brewery have been developing their craft and recently aced some important exams, with one of them getting the highest score in the world! The Bedford teammates have been studying to help them be even better brewers. Christian Day, Microbiologist, completed a lab-based university course in microbiology, while the others completed different levels of the industry-recognised Institute of Brewing and Distilling qualifications. Will Eason, Lab Technician, and Paul Warren, Quality Systems Analyst, both completed an exam which covers the fundamentals of brewing, from malting through to packaging the beer. Meanwhile, Team Leader Jamie Fergusson, and Relief Brewer David Rogerson, each completed a module of their Master Brewer exams – the highest qualifications available. Paul’s achievement was especially impressive

as he got the highest exam score this year! “I’m very pleased,” he said. “Education is important in brewing and I have been invited to a special awards evening in May as a result. “There’s something to be said about Marston’s commitment to learning, and having the support to do these exams is really important. I’ve worked here for 20 years but I didn’t have a formal brewing qualification, so it has been a long-standing ambition to do the course.” As well as helping our brewers directly, the training has had a wider impact on the business. Jamie, whose module focused on packaging, said: “It has helped with a keg loss project I am involved in, which is all about saving beer, and we’ve reduced wastage as a result. It’s also helped me with project


management and problem solving.” All five brewers are looking to take on more exams in the future. Chris Chisholm, Head Brewer, is delighted with their achievements and is determined to see the team develop to become future leaders. He said: “Everyone has put their own time and effort into these exams and I’m very proud of the team, it’s a fantastic achievement and is testament to the type of people we employ at Marston’s. “Having teammates with these qualifications gives us a seal of approval externally, as we can tell our customers that we have the best people brewing our beer. It’s important that we develop our people to be the Head Brewers of the future.”

WELCOME... to the April / May edition of Marston’s Life!

As I read this latest issue, I was stunned at the amount of best practice we’re able to share. The best bit of all, is that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there’s so much more going on in and around our business. For me, this issue really brings to life one of our core Ways of Working… ‘We Celebrate’. And we’ve got so much to celebrate as a business. Each one of these stories demonstrates how we make a difference, how we go the extra mile and how we love to share in each other’s success. It also goes to show how we’ve got the very best people and how they’re being recognised in Marston’s, the industry and also outside our sector. Like me, as you turn the pages, take time to notice all these opportunities to celebrate and feel proud – from our brewing teammates in Bedford with their amazing exam scores and our food team receiving top awards for our menus, through to The Twelve Oars kitchen team doing their bit to save the planet and save us money. At an event earlier this month, I spoke about how having a winning mind-set can make all the difference. Thinking positively and taking time to think about all the ‘wins’ – no matter how big or small - can build momentum and lead to winning more. Flick through this newspaper, take a look at how your team mates are winning and think about how you and your team are winning too! Take time to recognise and celebrate and have a think about where your next ‘win’ could come from. I look forward to reading all about them in future editions.

Ralph Findlay CEO


Flexible food habits are on the up. After leading the way and launching a meat-free menu in more than 430 pubs last year, we’re continuing to see more people asking for plant-based food – but it’s not just vegetarians who are digging in. In fact, 59% of meat-free meals in the UK are eaten by non-vegetarians, and it’s estimated that 21% of Brits are flexitarian – meaning they mostly eat vegetarian options but sometimes go for meat or fish. Over the past three years, there’s been more flexitarians eating out than any other type of eater, meaning it’s important that we offer lots of options in our food-led pubs. It’s all down to people wanting to be healthier and more mindful about their food choices. Veganism - a lifestyle choice where a person does not eat or use animal products including meat, eggs, dairy products and anything else animal-related is also on the rise, and earlier in the year many non-vegans took part in Veganuary, where they were encouraged to try the diet for a month. More and more people are looking for vegetarian dishes too - according to Just Eat, there’s been a 987% increase in demand for vegetarian options


2/3 Brits

The total value of UK plant-based market

think meat-free burgers will overtake traditional burgers in 20 years

(Nielson Scantrack)


between 2016 and 2017. We’ve been keeping an eye on these eating habits and successfully launched our NOM.EAT menu in September, offering a range of vegetarian and vegan options. As the demand for these dishes has grown, we’ve built them into our main light-night menus across all formats - meaning flexitarians are more likely to discover them. We’re also ensuring that every section of our new menus offer gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and lower calorie options. In fact, we've removed over 9 million calories a week across our Rotisserie pubs by replacing some of our dishes with healthier options, and making salad the primary accompaniment for many of our meals. And it doesn’t end there – our food team is working hard behind the scenes to make our vegan and health offerings even better. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this later in the year.

70% 60% avoid venues due to a lack of meat-free options

of vegetarians have adopted the lifestyle in the last five years

(More than carrots)

(Waitrose Food and Drink)

Drawing in a fair crowd One of our licensees has found a unique way to pull in the crowds – by hosting a funfair outside her pub. Lisa Hammlet hosted the attraction at The Eight Farmers, Crewe, for the fourth year in a row in February. The event was a big draw, with hundreds of customers dropping by. “I do it every year as there is nothing for families to do in my area,” she explained. “I’m a mother myself and there is absolutely nothing - there is no bowling anymore, no museums and I find it really unfair.” In exchange for hosting the fair on pub grounds, Lisa agreed a great deal with the operators, where customers paid a one off price to go on the rides as many times as they like for four hours. Prices varied depending on height, and food and drink deals for children were available in the pub as well. Lisa is always looking for opportunities to attract customers and has even hosted an ice rink outside The Eight Farmers. She’s currently planning her biggest event yet. “It’s great to think outside the box and I love a challenge. I’m doing a full blown carnival next year!”


We’re about to launch a work experience programme for teenagers, giving them RK the chance to see how I’M ON WO great it is to be part of our team! Working closely with education business partner Changing Education, we’re designing a programme called ‘Take 5’, named after the number of days that future teammates will have to learn about what it takes to work for Marston’s. Our first placements kick off in May and we’ve created an on-trend activity pack for students to work through while they’re with us - it includes quizzes about Marston’s where they’ll need to interview teammates to find the answers. We want to be famous for being a business that supports our customers’ children into the world of work, and what better way of doing this than getting our teammates to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.




The Twelve Oars kitchen team has been on a waste reduction mission – completely changing the way they work to deliver a whopping £490 saving versus budget! General Manager Jaden Knight, who took on the pub just three months ago, challenged team members to think green, save money and earn themselves a few pints as a thank you! Together the enviro-friendly team members reviewed their ways of working and decided to make some changes for the better. Key to their success is understanding how


much it costs when waste isn’t segregated properly. “It was a case of making the team aware of what the cost of the things were. One of the biggest things I would say to any General Manager is…could your team tell you how much it costs to empty a 50 litre general waste bin?” asks Jaden. “I related the potential savings to a number of work hours. I told the team that if they can make savings, I would be able to spend more on wages.” Credit to The Twelve Oars team for stepping up and doing their bit! Enjoy the San Miguel - you deserve it!


• •

BREAKDOWN CARDBOARD – it takes a few minutes to do but makes a big difference. We managed to go down from four dry mixed recycling bins to two. That’s a saving of £15.78 a tip, three times a week. When your team members go to throw something away, ASK THEM IF IT CAN BE RECYCLED. If they don’t know, tell them to look it up. Everyone throws cans straight in the general waste bin when they can go in mixed recycling. If you’ve got space under the bar GET A BIG RECYCLING BIN - they are cheaper to empty than general waste bins, so there is a cost saving when things like Red Bull cans, cardboard or paper go into dry mixed recycling, rather than waste. In my team meetings I TAKE THE TEAM THROUGH THE P&L whether they like it or not. It’s very important for them to know where the costs are and where the money is going. Don’t forget to CELEBRATE SUCCESS and reward your team. Without them on board, you can’t do it.

Sustainability star Waste & Recycling Coordinator Jon has made it into edie’s ’30 under 30’ class of 2019 - a list celebrating environmental experts having a positive impact on the world. Jon joined Marston’s in 2016, bringing with him a lifelong interest in the environment and a PhD in sustainability. Since then, he’s worked really hard to make us a greener business by encouraging us all to sweat the small stuff to make a big difference. As well as getting us to ‘wise up to waste’ and improve our recycling rate, Jon has worked on innovative projects like using recycled plastic to create our beer gardens and the successful trial of cardboard balers at our pubs. All of his efforts paid off last year

when we became the first pub company to achieve zero waste to landfill, two years ahead of our target date. Jon is seen as the go-to person for green advice, and last month he was invited to talk to industry experts about the rollout of our electric vehicle chargers. Congrats Jon - thanks for all of your hard work!


APRIL 2019

Tissues at the ready Inviting customers to frantically build towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows might not sound like a typical Monday evening pub activity. But for The Talbot, Atherton, it’s breathed new life into the quietest evening of the week - and added the fun factor to the weekly pub quiz! Kate Eaton, General Manager, decided to revamp the quiz as fewer people were taking part each week. She met with quiz master and pub regular, Lee McGuire, and shift leader Gemma Harris, and they came up with a plan! “It needed some energy, so we decided to do something different,” she said. “We introduced activities to complement the question rounds and they went down a treat. We put Skittles on the tables and gave ten points to the team who could suck the most into a cup. “On another occasion we invited guests to build the biggest tower out of marshmallows and spaghetti, and on another they had to see who could empty a box of tissues the quickest, one at a time. One week we asked them to make paper aeroplanes to see who could throw it the furthest.” The quiz moved from Wednesday to Monday night, which was traditionally quieter but coincided with a half price pizza deal. It was given a new name - The Big Fat Talbot Quiz - and the team made posters, wore promotional t-shirts, and posted about it on Facebook. “The response has been great. Moving it to the start of the week was a gamble, but people see it as a way of extending the weekend. Since launching we’ve seen more and more teams turning up. The old quiz had four teams turning up, five if we were lucky. We are now getting ten teams in and it’s growing. “We’re already seeing the benefits, and are bringing in an extra £500 on quiz night since relaunching it.”

Kate’s quiz-tastic tips

Awesome Allie We are super proud of Allie at The Woodcocks, Lincoln. Last month she received some wonderful feedback from a customer who rarely dines out because their child has autism. They were so thankful because Allie ensured the young customer was comfortable and had a fantastic experience during their visit. She’s pictured here with her Operations Manager Jared Sedgwick, who dropped by to thank her for her efforts. Well done Allie, you really made their day!

Think outside the box. Research what other pubs are doing so you can make sure your night offers something different. Build the atmosphere. Get an enthusiastic quiz master on board and promote your event. Think about space. Activity rounds work really well at The Talbot, but we have to make sure we’re safe and quizzers are not getting in the way of other customers. Have backup rounds. A paper aeroplane race is great fun – unless you get more guests than expected. You have to be flexible!




APRIL 2019

A toast to Keith


Our Export team enjoyed its most successful trade show ever in Italy. Marston’s was the star of the show at the Rimini Beer Attraction, a major event that attracts wholesalers and pub owners from across the country, after we teamed up with a company that kits out pubs. After hearing the designers were showcasing an ‘AngloIrish’ themed bar at the show, the team jumped on board and offered to serve our beers from it. Visitors were impressed by the display, which stood out from the other stands, and we attracted a new wholesaler and 18 pubs during the event. The new business builds on the awesome work our Export team is already doing in Italy, which makes up 12% of our overseas sales. Tim Wilmot-Smith, Head of Sales, said: “We work with 21 wholesalers, who sell beer to stockists in different parts of the country. There’s a lot of competition, but we stand out

Team members surprised Ops Manager Keith Palmer at a recent TOAST format day, by presenting him with an award in recognition of the fantastic work he has done for our town centre pubs. After watching Keith hand out his own recognition awards at the event, the pub managers turned the tables on him by presenting their own award, which came in the form of a box of beers and a big thank you! Sarah O’Donoghue, General Manager at The Clarendon, Wolverhampton, said: “We’re building a great empire in town centre, which is something we are all very proud of and we wanted to thank Keith for his overall strategy.”

because we’re traditional brewers with a strong heritage, with modern beers in our portfolio as well.” As well as attracting new business, Tim and his team have been working hard to educate our existing wholesalers about our brands. “If we can make them excited about our beers, they’ll share that passion with their customers. In the last six months I’ve been bringing them over to Burton to show them how great we are at brewing. They see that we’re unique, and their jaws drop when they see the Burton Union System. “Now I’m planning to bring the bar designers over to visit the Albion Taphouse because it demonstrates what we’re all about - a traditional pub with modern elements. Our plan is to work with them to build a bar that mimics parts of the Albion and showcase it in Rimini next year!”

Carvery and then some!


Our 15th Revere pub, The Lazy Pig in the Pantry, opened for business in March. We’ve welcomed 35 new teammates at the new build site, which features a mix of contemporary and traditional décor in true Revere style. Think copper tables, gritty metal chairs, Edison lightbulbs and a large glass conservatory, complete with an orangery. Colin Sadler, Managing Director for Premium Bars and Restaurants, said: “This opening demonstrates the commitment to our continued growth as a premium brand. We want The Lazy Pig in the Pantry to be at the heart of the Chesham community.”

Our carvery customers are in for a fresh experience following a major makeover of our menu. We've made carvery the hero, celebrating the selection of quality meats, seasonal veg and homemade Yorkie and roasties we serve everyday. It’s all part and parcel of giving carvery a new identity – putting ‘fresh experience’ at the heart. We’re bringing this to life with a number of fresh ‘signals’ to entice our customers, using bright colours and vibrant photography in our promotional materials to really showcase what sets us apart from all other carveries. As well as sprucing up the menu, some of our pubs have had a mini-refurb which goes one step further to bringing


freshness back into carvery with veg boxes lining the carvery area and colourful crockery to match the mood. And if you don’t fancy a full-blown carvery – don’t fear. While we’ve seriously slimmed down the menu, we’ve introduced homemade options using carvery ingredients like Turkey Caesar Salad and Toad in the Hole, where you still get to choose your veg from the deck to make sure you don’t miss out on the carvery experience. And there are Sunday specials too, including special joints like lamb or pork and a great steak deal in the evening. If you’ve not visited for a while, why not make this Sunday the day of ‘roast’ and have a fresh carvery experience of your own?


Sales team success We’re on a mission to increase the distribution and sale of Marston’s own and world beer brands across the UK’s pubs and bars. Members of our National On-Trade Sales Development team, which recently grew from 12 to 26 members following their ongoing success, visit individual pubs the length and breadth of the UK to promote our brilliant brands, building essential relationships with managers and licensees along the way. It’s a challenging job - effectively door to door (or pub to pub) sales in our competitor’s pubs, encouraging them to stock our beers. “Sales Development Executives have to be knowledgeable and flexible as they go into all sorts of different pubs - one moment they might be selling Estrella to an upmarket bar, then they might be selling an ale to a town’s local,” explained Sales Director, Carl Middleton. “Pub by Pub this team are making more of our brands available to more consumers, more of the time. It’s a demanding, full throttle role, but a lot of fun and it’s making a real difference to our business performance.”

Many team members are not just new to Marston’s, but new to sales, so thanks to the success of the original team of 12, we’ve been able to expand, improving our sales and kick starting some new careers too.

Sales team stats:

APRIL 2019

SPRING INTO ACTION! It’s time to start prepping for the fastapproaching summer months by having a beer garden spring clean, ready for some sun-soaked supping. When the sun shines our punters love nothing better than alfresco drinking and dining, so whether you’ve got a pint-sized patio or a gigantic garden, it’s important to make the most of this important asset. Here’s some top tidying tips to help inspire you to make your beer garden the place to be this summer… 1. Power washers at the ready! Hose down or scrub both furniture and patio areas to get rid of leaves, litter, weeds, dirt and pesky bird poop. 2. Check that umbrellas, jumbrellas and patio heaters are all ship shape. 3. Don’t forget our furry friends. Take inspiration from pubs that have invented great dog drinking devices by using an empty barrel.

• Team of 26 (2 covering Scotland) • Since October, the team has sold 29,200 barrels of our beer, a like for like growth of 2% • 1,200 pubs selling our brands since this time last year - a 20% increase in outlet distribution! • The team targets 14,000 pubs and between them, make 53,500 calls a year

Full house

Top hog

The Plas Coch team came to the rescue after residents of a local care home were unable to make a bingo afternoon at the pub. After hearing that the residents of Stansty House Care Home didn’t have any transport, the teammates decided to take the bingo to them. They turned up with equipment and prizes, and had a fantastic time. General Manager, Meryl Latham, said: “We’ve all had family in nursing homes and we just wanted to give them a bit of pleasure. The highlight of the day was seeing their smiling faces. We’re already thinking of something we can do on a return visit. “Getting out there in the community is important for us here at the Plas. The team is fantastic at raising money for local charities and giving up their spare time.”




The clocks have sprung forward so don’t forget to adjust any lighting time clocks and why not set a reminder on your phone for any manual switching on of lights. Safety comes first – make sure all play equipment is in full working order and risk assessments are completed. Spruce up your hanging baskets and planters – it makes all the difference in the smallest of areas.

Ringwood’s Razorback Amber Ale has been named ‘Best Buy’ in The Independent’s top 10 list of best lowalcohol beers. The 3.6% beer was praised for its well-rounded balance of hops and fruity notes, as well as its sweet aroma of dark chocolate. Jodie Ringer, Assistant Brand Manager, said:

This is such a great win for Ringwood! We’re so pleased our biggest and fastest growing brand in Off Trade has the official title of ‘Indy Best Buy’ – it’s a real credit to the team!”


Got some great garden ideas that others could benefits from? GET IN TOUCH AND SHARE YOUR STORY AT COMMUNICATIONS@MARSTONS.CO.UK



APRIL 2019

Marston’s teammates were served up two top awards at the Menu Innovation and Development Awards (MIDAS) which recognises outstanding menu developers and chefs. For starters, our Menu Development team picked up the ‘Best Neighbourhood Pub’ award for our Village menu. It beat off tough competition from the likes of Greene King and Mitchells & Butler, and was recognised for its creativity, appeal and value for money. Claire Yates, Assistant Menu Development Manager, has been key to the menu’s success. She said: “It’s been growing from strength to strength over the last few years, and I’m very proud that it’s received the recognition it deserves.”


We’re trialling our first ever overhead beer dispenser in one of our TOAST pubs. The Palm Pour is an innovative system that allows teammates to pour pints from above, making it easier for them to chat with customers from the minute they order. It also makes it easier to pass drinks across a busy bar, and is a talking point for customers. A prototype is up and running at The Bear in Stafford as part of its recent refurb, and will be rolled out in other TOAST pubs if it’s successful

Nicola Arrow, who heads up the team, then enjoyed a second helping of recognition when she walked away with the ‘Jason Snyders Head of Food Award’. Presented by Chef Brian Turner, the prize celebrates an industry leader who’s paving the way when it comes to menu development and innovation. She said: “I’m over the moon – it came as a total surprise because the team nominated me in secret! We’ve had a really successful 12 months and this award is testament to the hard work and dedication from my team. It’s a big thanks from me to everyone involved!”

Innovation is really important in our industry and we’re always looking for ways to do things differently. After months of hard work from the whole team, it’s really exciting to finally see it up and running.”

after a three month pilot. “Our teammates are fantastic at engaging customers, but sometimes the beer taps get in the way,” explained Keith Palmer, Operations Manager, who thought up the idea. “The Palm Pour aims to improve the customer experience and we’ll be keeping an eye on our satisfaction scores as part of the trial, as well as looking at how durable it is.



Claire Yates with James Devine Esq. from McCain Foodservice


Nicola Arrow (left) with Aisling Kemp from Billington Group

Tonnes to celebrate We’re moving more than 100 tonnes a day at our newest distribution centre in Essex. The site in West Thurrock opened in December to help us cope with our growing trade in the South East. It’ll become our third largest centre in June when the distribution deal that was in place from our acquisition of Charles Wells comes to an end. This will see a whopping 180,000 barrels added to our delivery network! Over the last three months we’ve welcomed more than 60 teammates to the site, and they are currently delivering to 591 locations in London, Kent, Essex and Suffolk. A warm welcome to the West Thurrock team!

Ever struggled to know which is the right decision to make? Yep, we’ve all been there! That’s why we’ve created ‘The Marston’s Way’ to make it easier. It’s a really simple document that outlines the behaviours expected of us and the policies we should use to guide us. It’s been designed


to make life a bit easier by pulling everything we need to help our decision-making into one place. It’s a great starting point if you’re looking for information, support and guidance about our people, our business, our company property and how we impact others.


APRIL 2019



Here are some of the great things people have been saying about us: Christopher Pincher MP praised Village pub of the year The Gate Inn, Amington: “Well done to you and all at The Gate Inn. A great achievement from some stiff competition!”


58 kids thanked the team at The Warton Arms, Beverley, after a school visit: “I really want to come again. I’ll be begging my dad to take me!”

The new Heritage menu went down a treat at Bailey’s Court Inn, Bristol: “We had a lovely time. Yummy food and lots of lovely staff.”

Two rising stars in our logistics team have performed so well in the first year of their apprenticeships, that they’ve already been put forward for the next level of the programme. Jake Galer and Archie Webster are supply chain apprentices at our brewery in Burton Upon Trent, and have done an excellent job of coordinating our delivery drivers to help get our beers out on time. They completed their Level 2 apprenticeships in February, and are already on route to become Transport Supervisors. “I finished sixth form just over a year ago and knew that I wanted to do a challenging job where I could learn and work towards something,” Jake told us. “I found this opportunity at Marston’s and knew a big company like this would help me to progress. I was right - my manager Steve is constantly pushing me to get to the next level.” Archie added: “I was at college and it wasn’t for me.


Dream of being a Head Chef or a General Manager? We’re launching a new apprenticeship scheme for Assistant Managers and Second Chefs looking to make the step-up. The Marston’s Apprenticeship Academy is an exciting programme that combines on-the-job and class-room training, where participants will have the opportunity to learn with apprentices from other pubs. Interested? Visit www.marstonsapprenticeships.co.uk to apply for roles in our pubs and lodges. Anyone applying for a level 3 position will be considered for the Apprenticeship Academy.


Teammates at some of our family-focused pubs pulled out all the stops and dressed up as their favourite characters for World Book Day in March. As well as donning creative costumes, they organised events and activities at many Marston’s sites to mark the occasion. Reading sessions, book swaps, bookmark making and

I looked into local apprenticeships and logistics at Marston’s really appealed to me so I thought I’d give it a shot - it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. My long-term goal is to be in charge of planning all of the delivery routes and I’m already being trusted to plan them on Sundays.” As well as developing themselves, Jake and Archie’s efforts have had a massive impact on the team, and they are being tipped to be future leaders. Their manager Steve Holt said: “Their progression is phenomenal and the level and quality of work they produce is outstanding. The plan is to continue training them to be our future transport managers.” Apprenticeships are available to people at all levels in their careers, so if you’ve been inspired by Jake and Archie, email apprenticeships@marstons.co.uk to find out more about our opportunities in brewing, logistics and support services.

themed breakfasts with guest appearances from Elsa, The Gruffalo, Winnie the Pooh any many more took place across our pubs. Well done to our teammates who made it happen!


made easy! Dreaming of a holiday to remember, a new car, or even just some extra cash in your pocket for a rainy day? We know that saving – whether it’s for everyday things or the ‘nice-to-haves’ in life – can be tricky to keep on top of, but Marston’s Sharesave scheme makes it easy. You choose how much you want to save and the money is taken straight from your pay, so you can just sit back and watch your savings grow. Plus, you get the chance to buy discounted shares at the end of your savings period, so you can own a piece of Marston’s if you want to! Interested? If you’ve been a Marston’s employee for one year or more, look out for a letter in the post towards the end of May with all the info you need to join.



APRIL 2019



How are you going to make a difference? Community Heroes Week is here! Running from 29 April – 6 May, the week sees Marston’s people doing great things for great causes at many of our sites. Last year we had fire walks, family fun days and ice cream eating competitions, and this year is already looking eventful. Why not set yourself a challenge – like our Old House at Home

Off the scale

One of our pubs has raised over £28,000 for charity since October, and is on track to raise a mammoth £100,000 throughout the year! Teammates at The Crumpled Horn, Upminster, have achieved this thanks to an innovative idea that General Manager Sharon Kelly had eight years ago. As well as running their own quiz, they host quizzes and other events on behalf of charities, who bring in their own customers. “One of my regulars, who works for a cat charity, asked if I had any fundraising ideas,” said Sharon. “I suggested that we could run a quiz for her if she brings in the people, and she could charge them a donation to take part. She gave it a go and it was a hit, so she has done one every month on a Monday for the last eight years.” The event was such a success that Sharon invited other charities to do the same. “We have about ten charities that either do it monthly, quarterly or twice a year. At this time of year we also have the London Marathon fundraisers, who are looking to host events to help with their totals.” Another charity, First Steps, host a Bandeoke night at The Crumpled Horn. This is just like

team from Walsall, who’ll be carrying a barrel of Pedigree up Snowdonia to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital? Check out some of the stories below for inspiration, and share your plans in the Heroes of the Community Facebook group: www.facebook. com/groups/HeroesOfTheCommunity.

normal Karaoke, except the charity provides a live band. As well as helping a great cause, the pub gets an uplift of £300-500 on top of its usual takings during these events. With so much being raised, the team has put a thermometer next to the bar which is updated monthly to show their fundraising total, for customers to see. “We’re a community pub in a nice area, with nice customers. These events are all about giving back to the community.

– Showcasing our people in pr int –

Donna English has been a team member at The Gate, Osbaston, for 30 years! She recently received a welldeserved long service award, so we caught up with her to find out what’s kept her coming back for more!

How has the role changed since you started? When I first joined we wore a uniform with dickie bows! At the time we had very defined roles – I was a waitress and I purely waited tables, while the bar staff stayed on the bar. Nowadays we all do a bit of everything – although Michelle (pictured above) still doesn’t like me interfering with the bar, she was part of the original bar team! What is it that has kept you coming back? Undoubtedly the customers, and my interaction with them. Some like the company and come in just to see me. If I am on holiday they ask where I’ve gone.

It’s as important to talk to the customer as it is to take out their meal.”


A superstar teammate at The Harbour Tavern, Bridlington, has become a Cancer Research ambassador after raising more than £2,000 for the charity. Katie Carr, Assistant Manager, has been invited to support local fundraising events, including a relay race in the summer, after she doubled her fundraising target for a sponsored head shave on New Year’s Eve. The dedicated teammate braved the shave in front of a busy pub, after seeing a number of locals affected by the illness.

A pint with... DONNA ENGLISH

Katie said: “I was very nervous but determined to raise money for the charity. I love my hair, but my mum had done a similar challenge before so I decided to go for it. “I live and work in the pub and I am very close to the local community. Lots of people around me have been affected by the illness, including some of our customers, close friends and my Nan.” When Katie’s friends heard about the challenge they helped her promote the event by putting up posters around the town, which helped draw in the crowd. “We expected it to be busy but the pub was rammed and we doubled our takings that night. The locals were really supportive.”

Image: Paul Atkinson - Bridlington Free Press

Waggon wheelers Wombourne’s The Waggon and Horses teammates took part in three days of fundraising for local charity Compton Care, which supports people with complex or incurable illnesses. They were joined by customers as they took on a 12-hour in-door cycle, held a car wash and ran a raffle for customers, raising a whopping £800!

Any particular customer memories? I’ve been given some really interesting gifts. I told one lady that I liked her shoes, and the following week a pair of the same shoes had been left on the table for me. We had a customer who recently passed away, who liked to go fishing. Once he brought me a trout! On one occasion I accidentally took someone’s order down wrong. At the end of the meal the customer told me that he didn’t think he had ordered the dish but he really liked it. He came back every Saturday and asked me to choose his meal each time! What is the strangest thing that has happened here? We once had a car crash through the pub window. It

was a lunchtime and came into the bar area! Any funny memories? I was an accidental matchmaker – there were two people at the bar and I thought they were with each other so I took their order together. They saw the funny side, and by the end of the night they were sat together and had bonded over it! What has been your biggest takeaway? When I joined I was employed by a couple called Linda and Charlie Buxton. Charlie interviewed me at a school in the village and he said “It’s as important to talk to the customer as it is to take out their meal”. He said that 30 years ago, and I am still saying it now.

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Marston's Life - April / May 2019  

Marston's Life - April / May 2019  

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