Thurston pub listed in top 10 per cent of Tripadvisor reviews worldwide
A pub landlord and his family are celebrating after winning two awards in one month.
Andy Bendall, who runs the Fox and Hounds, in Thurston, said he was ‘over the moon’ after winning both a West Suffolk CAMRA's September‘pub of the month’ award and also a Tripadvisor award, which listed the venue in the top 10 per cent of restaurants worldwide, based on visitor reviews.
Andy has run the pub since April 2019 after taking it over from former owners Mandy and and Bernie Ruffles, who themselves won a string of awards, over several years.
“An email came out of the blue, which said: 'You are a Traveller's Choice winner. We comb reviews, ratings and destination saves form travellers everywhere and use this information to award the very best. You are part of an exclusive group and in the top 10 per cent of restaurants worldwide," said Andy, 40.
"It was great news.
"We had to shut down for more than four months during lockdown and so to win these awards as we start to re-open has been a great boost; especially as it is our first and keeps up the tradition of those won by the former landlord and lady, including a CAMRA Suffolk Pub of the Year award.
The Fox and Hounds has been been awarded Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award 2020. The pub currently has 247 reviews and rates an average of 4.5 stars out of 5.
Mr Bendall grew up in the village and the Fox and Hounds was his also local for more than 20 years.
“When I heard Mandy and Bernie wanted to retire I said to their son, Elliot, I would be interested in buying it, and he said: that’s great, as mum and dad always thought I would be great to run it. I have many happy memories here.”
Andy runs the pub with wife Lucy, 38, and it also home their three children, Freddie, 12, Toby, 11, and Rory, six.
Becoming a pub landlord was a big change for Mr Bendall who had previously run his own plumbing company for 14 years.
He now has 20 staff who have all returned to work after being furloughed during lockdown.
He has plans to make the most of the pub, indoors and out, including the existing garden, a marquee and car park during winter within current Covid-19 safety guidelines, and outdoor heating.
“The 'Rule of6' actually makes things easier to police so we are making the best of the situation," added Andy.
"The reviews are mainly from outside of the area so we are obviously a destination pub for a lot of people and are delighted people enjoyed their visit the venue."