The Staff of Life has been given a fresh lease of life, with new operators Jayne Walls and John Pankhurst having moved into the Ticknall pub in in 2020. They took over the day to day running of the business from Chris and Kaye Nix who have owned and managed the Pub for over 25 years.
“It really is a dream come true for us” John said, as I always wanted a traditional country pub and Jayne always wanted a B & B business to run. The fact its already successful is a real bonus”.
Jayne, who originates from Birmingham, said they really fell in love with the place when they saw it. “Everyone has been so friendly since we opened up and really supportive. We want to put the pub right into the heart of the village community”.
“We wish to keep it as a traditional country pub serving fresh home cooked food; we want it to be a bustling pub and a busy B&B that will be enjoyed by all our overnight guests” she added.
The pub has history dating back to the 1600s and they had heard the stories about Eliza “Granny” Soar, who actually ran the pub in the late 1800s and who kept the key to the local village lock-up. She had once detained a number of men in the “roundhouse” for “riotous behaviour” after a few too many drinks. Jayne said she could be just as formidable a landlady if the need ever arose!
Indeed she is convinced she had felt Eliza’s “presence” when they first moved in, embracing the enduring ghost story about her often told by late-night drinkers! A friend who was a medium had also visited them and without knowing any history felt the presence of a spirit! “But we have not yet found the key to the lock up,” they both joked.
With a background of running pubs out in Spain, where Jayne lived for 16 years, and more recently in Tamworth, the couple have a lot of experience in the pub trade. “Given the current circumstances, with limited customer numbers and with distancing guidelines, taking over went surprisingly well and we feel really lucky to have found such a good pub.
“One thing we will keep going is the discount from the Help out to Eat out scheme that ran last summer as that clearly encouraged lot’s of people back after the first lockdown, and we will still offer up to a 50% discount on meals, Monday to Friday. We are also busy planning new offers for the re-opening in the Spring” they said.
The couple would like to find some old pictures of the pub both inside and out, from any locals who might have any. They are keen to display more from its long history if they can.
The picture shows Jayne (top left) and John (bottom right) and their fantastic team at The Staff of Life.