New pub opens: 'We had almost the whole village, and the one nearby'

The Red Lion, Great Sampford

The Red Lion, Great Sampford - Credit: Supplied by Andreea Dirstar

More than 100 people visited a village pub on Monday (April 12), which has reopened under new management after being closed for two years.

Andreea Dirstar, owner at The Red Lion in Great Sampford, said a few of her family's previous customers at The Gate, Saffron Walden, were among those who turned up to show their support. 

The Red Lion, Great Sampford

The Red Lion, Great Sampford - Credit: Supplied by Andreea Dirstar

She said: “I definitely underestimated how busy it was going to be, it was crazy busy, we opened at 5pm and there was a queue in front of the pub from 5.30pm. 

“I think we had almost all the village there, and the village nearby. I would say there were between 100 and 200 people. 

“We had 10 tables and they were all full and we had people on the stairs and on the benches.” 

The Red Lion, Great Sampford

The Red Lion, Great Sampford - Credit: Supplied by Andreea Dirstar

She added: “We had a few customers who used to come to The Gate, they came to have a look at what we have done and support and encourage us. 

“I was very happy for all the support and a bit stressed, but I have been waiting for this for a long time and it was really lovely. 

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“Thank you very much to all the lovely people from Great Sampford for all the support and encouragement, we are very grateful for this opportunity. We can’t wait to welcome everyone.” 

The Red Lion, Great Sampford

The Red Lion, Great Sampford - Credit: Supplied by Andreea Dirstar

The pub has been redecorated and is currently welcoming around 60 people for drinks outside at any one time, and will accommodate a similar amount indoors from May 17. 

The Red Lion, Great Sampford

The Red Lion, Great Sampford - Credit: Supplied by Andreea Dirstar

Jamie Woods, chairman at Sampfords Parish Council, said: "I will be going down some time this week but loads of people have been there already and everybody has been very positive about it. 

"It's the only pub in the village, a very important part of the village which is all about community spirit, it's an important asset."

The Red Lion, Great Sampford

The Red Lion, Great Sampford - Credit: Supplied by Andreea Dirstar

He added: "It's been sorely missed. It was a focal point where people could just go and meet others and we haven't had that.

"It gives everyone an option to meet now that Covid restrictions are easing."

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