Couple to transform pub

editorial image

While the pub trade it seems is in rapid decline, the new licencees of the White Lion in Swingate, Kimberley are breathing new life into the premises after hearing about its sad decline by chance.

Partners Graham Sharpe and Yvonne Shanks were considering retirement when they overheard a conversation between friends while attending a social event at which the sale of the White Lion pub, which was built in the 19th century, came into conversation.

Graham, 66, who lives in Nuthall and was the former licensee of the Mundy Arms, and Yvonne,60, of Watnall, decided to put their retirement plans on hold and chose instead to embark on a new challenge by buying the former Swingate landmark.

“We have both been workaholics down the years and the thoughts of retirement left us both filled with trepidation.” said Graham

“When this fantastic opportunity came about we grabbed it with both hands and there is no doubt that the project has given us a new lease of ,life” he said.

Since taking over the premises in March 2013, Graham who is a professional guitarist and Yvonne who worked for Imperial Tobacco (John Player) for 34-years, have transformed the dilapidated building.

“Our aim is to restore the White Lion to its former glory as a traditional Real Ale pub for all the family.” said Yvonne.

“Our efforts so far, thanks to the expertise of a great team of local tradesmen, have been very productive and in just a short time we have attracted brisk business

and the “ old building” is buzzing again.

“CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) has given a big thumbs up to our efforts and we are proud at what has been achieved on the site since we embarked on the transformation challenge.said Graham.

“My late wife Jane who was a leading light with the Kimberley based drama group the Nelson Players and Yvonne’s partner who has also passed away would surely have approved of our ambitious venture.” said Graham.

During his long involvement in the music business Graham who worked on cruise ships was an accompanist to the likes of the Three Degrees and The Nolan Sisters .

“ Music is going to play a big part in our entertainment programme at the White Lion and local singers including Ian Campbell and Deb O’Kane will have regular gigs. Charity work also figures in our plans and we have already raised funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind.said Graham.

There is so much on our itinerary and it is an exciting venture that makes us feel young again.. It is still work in progress but there’s no doubt that the White Lion project is going to be a roaring success! “