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Jessica is bringing 'feel-good' factor back to Billingford pub

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Sunday roast lunches to takeaway and the revival of wartime community spirit are helping to fuel a village pub’s revival.

When Jessica Leech was first handed the keys to The Horseshoes in Billingford on November 26, she did not have a pre-conceived plan.

Now, after a couple of months in the job, she has a very clear vision on how she wants to continue to turn the pub around.

Jessica Leech, who is turning around the fortunes of The Horseshoes. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Jessica Leech, who is turning around the fortunes of The Horseshoes. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Having run restaurants and hotels before with the business’ owner, Daniel Wong, Ms Leech was approached to take over the business, on the A143 between Diss and Harleston.

She said: “At first, I wanted to just get a feel for the place and find out more about the locals.

“At that point, I only had three members of staff – a cook, a cleaner and a head waiter, so work was hard.

“Slowly, we have changed a few things, like having proper home-cooked food back on the menu, and are now going in the right direction.”

The 33-year-old from Beccles has brought in a piano and a player for sing-a-long nights, introduced fish supper Fridays and not only offers fish and chip takeaway that day, but also a carvery takeaway service on Sundays, too.

She added: “I just want to build this place back up and make it a destination pub for locals and people further out, as I felt it had lost its spirit in recent years.

“It is a magnificent building, with an amazing history as well. It was a pub where nearby bomber groups used to come during the war and I am hoping to get some pictures of them to put up, as well as change the room names to planes used back then.”

The pub, with five upstairs bedrooms and a disabled-friendly room downstairs, has already had a big turnaround and future plans include setting up a barbecue this summer and having live bands playing outside.

Ms Leech said: “I want the pub to have a friendly atmosphere. The locals, too, welcome everyone who comes in and thank them on the way out, which is lovely.

“We are slowly getting the feel-good factor back that this place once had.”

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