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Pub and events venue near Haverhill springs back to life after being disused for years




New life has been breathed into a pub that dates back more than 150 years but for the past few years had been sitting unused.

The lease for The Colne Valley Arms, formerly the Birdbrook Tavern, in Sturmer Road, New England, near Haverhill, has not only been taken on by Tony White, it has also reverted to its original name from the mid 19th century.

The building has already begun its new lease of life by hosting its first function, a wedding, on June 26, but that is only part of the story for the pub/restaurant, as Siobhan Rundle, the venue's wedding and events planner, explained.

Siobhan Rundle, the Colne Valley Arms wedding and events planner. Picture by Mecha Morton
Siobhan Rundle, the Colne Valley Arms wedding and events planner. Picture by Mecha Morton

She said: "What we are wanting to do is make it into a traditional family pub with a carvery.

"It's an amazing place. It's got everything there that it needs.

"My parents (the pub's licensees are her mum and stepdad) are wanting everything to be locally sourced produce, locally sourced beers, ales and wines. It's just got so much potential."

Colne Valley Arms laid out for a wedding. Submitted picture
Colne Valley Arms laid out for a wedding. Submitted picture

The aim is also to have small animals in the garden, such as chickens, Guinea pigs and rabbits, for children to meet when they visit with their families and to introduce foods from around the world and music nights.

Already the venue's function room, which can seat 100 guests without using a dance floor, has been decked out with ceiling drapes, fairy lights, handmade flower chandeliers and disco glitter ball.

The bar serves cocktails, a range of sweet gins, bottled and draught beers and will soon have cocktail pumps added, and hopefully a gin bar will be put on the balcony overlooking the function hall.

The reaction from the clients whose wedding reception was held there, said Haverhill-based Siobhan, was full of praise.

A flower chandelier in the function room at Colne Valley Arms. Submitted picture
A flower chandelier in the function room at Colne Valley Arms. Submitted picture

Work on opening the pub side of the business has been delayed not just by the Covid pandemic, but also by the theft just, before Mrs and Mrs White moved in, of all the furniture and kitchen appliances that were there,plus the lead in the roof and by being let down by workmen taken on to do the plumbing and electrics.

Siobhan is now busy organising a wedding fayre for August 1, with no charge for any of the companies taking part - who are mostly based locally.

Colne Valley Arms in the 19th century
Colne Valley Arms in the 19th century

Appearing will be Marquee Memories, Jade's Flower Designs, Jamies Meat Inn (who provide the meat and operate the barbecue), Platinum Party Hire and Creative Event Hire and Balloons.

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