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The Bunbury Arms, in Great Barton near Bury St Edmunds, set to reopen with Keven Swales and his wife Rebecca at the helm





A former pot washer who went on to enjoy a catering career and run his own construction firm is set to run the pub where it all began.

Keven Swales and his wife Rebecca are set to reopen The Bunbury Arms, in Great Barton, which has been closed since January.

The couple are due to welcome customers to the pub on August 14 and Mr Swales wants to bring back the carveries which made the venue popular.

The Bunbury Arms in Great Barton
The Bunbury Arms in Great Barton

The 33-year-old, who grew up in Stanton, said: “I want it to be the thriving carvery it used to be. With families it always used to be busy and then it kind of lost it over the years. I’m going back to a proper carvery again, home-cooked pub classics.

“The way the economy is at the moment, people want to go out for a nice home-cooked lunch and not pay the earth for it. Good quality food – that’s what we’re hoping to achieve.”

At the age of 15 to 16, Mr Swales used to work at the Bunbury Arms, when it was managed by Tom Wortley, as a pot washer and helped out in the kitchens.

Keven Swales and his wife Rebecca
Keven Swales and his wife Rebecca

He went on to work in outside catering, front of house, waitering, as a bar manager for various companies and ran weddings.

Three to four years ago, Mr Swales left the catering industry to start a construction business, which will continue while he runs the Bunbury Arms.

Mr Wortley’s wife Sam is now a business development manager at Greene King and approached him about running the pub.

Mr Swales was interested back in January but was busy with his construction firm and the Bunbury Arms was nearly taken over by Lesley and Jim Callinan, who run The Pykkerrel Inn, in Ixworth, but they pulled out.

He said: “You always end up going back to what you love doing.”

They now need to redecorate inside the pub and some building work has already been done.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We’re going to take the challenge and bring it back to how it used to be.”

A spokesperson for Greene King said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have a new partner for the Bunbury Arms and can confirm the pub will reopen on August 14.

“The pub is currently undergoing some refurbishments, however the new partners are looking forward to welcoming the community back next month.”