A popular publican has taken over the management of one of Steyning’s drinking haunts.
Ritchie Laing, 50, was a fixture at The Chequer Inn in the town’s High Street for 14 years – and has now turned his sights to the bar at Steyning Cricket Club.
He said he left The Chequer Inn after becoming ‘bored’ two years ago and was relishing the unique challenges offered by a cricket club bar.
“I’ve lived in Steyning for a long time and I’ve drunk at the cricket club,” said Ritchie, who took over about two months ago. “They offered me the chance to take over so I took it.
“During the summer it pretty much takes care of itself with the cricket, plus we’ve got the best beer garden in the world looking over the South Downs.
“The challenge is keeping it busy during the winter.
“It used to close over the winter but we’re going to try to keep it open every day.
“We’re trying to do something different every week just to draw people in.
“It’s been really busy since we started.”
Ritchie said he had worked in pubs since he was 18 and the first thing he did when he took over was install a 75in television to show sport all year round. He also plans to run game nights and live music to keep punters coming back – even on the chilly nights without cricket.
Visitors do not have to be members of the cricket club to use the bar, but members do receive cheaper drinks.
On October 26, Steyning Cricket Club hosted a charity race night to raise money for St Barnabas House.
Ritchie said the event, which raised £2,710, was in memory of Steyning resident Paul Croft, who passed away at the age of 57 last year.
He had been diagnosed with the extremely rare brain disease sporadic creutzfeldt-jakob just two weeks earlier.
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