New managers step right up at Leopold Tavern launch party

Wendy Meredith and Deborah Buckingham at The Leopold Tavern
Wendy Meredith and Deborah Buckingham at The Leopold Tavern
Jack Martin is calling for the return of this much-loved Tom Parker milk float after it was stolen during the night

Original Tom Parker Dairies milk float is stolen

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Two friends are embarking on a new adventure together in their new positions as managers of The Leopold Tavern.

Wendy Meredith and Deborah Buckingham first met one year ago, and it just so happened to be in a pub.

Deborah said: ‘Deborah was helping a friend behind the bar and I was popping in for a drink.

‘We got talking and bonded over similar circumstances. At the time, both of our dads were 80 and very unwell.

‘Her dad passed away on Christmas Eve and I lost mine in March. This pulled us closer together and we became really good friends.’

Wendy was working at the Portsmouth Trade Union, but had wanted to manage her own pub for some time.

Wendy said: ‘I’ve always wanted to manage a pub and Deborah felt the same way.

‘We saw online that the Craft Union Pub Company were recruiting for managers so we threw caution to the wind and applied. After several interviews we were accepted and, by May, we were contacted to say that a pub in Albert Road was available.

‘The Leopold was the perfect option for us and by June we had the keys!’

In September, the pub closed for three weeks for a major refurbishment. Wendy said: ‘They changed the carpets, replaced furniture and we now have a pool table, dart board and nine TV’s.’

The pub has been renovated into a sports bar, with eight TVs inside and one in the pub garden.

Wendy added: ‘The smoking area now has benches, heaters and a big TV. We want people to be able to enjoy sport in the pub.

We have entertainment every Friday night which is usually a singer but we also have our own sound and lighting system so we can throw 70s or 80s themed parties and discos.’

The two managers held their launch night in October with a circus-themed party. They enlisted the help of a local cafe to make party nibbles.

Wendy said: ‘It has really taken off. Punters have told us how much they love the new look and the launch night was fab, we dressed as ringmasters and handed out popcorn and candy floss.’

‘For Remembrance weekend our regulars will be in smart dress and suits. We’ll be giving free shots of brandy, whisky and rum to any veterans or serving personnel and we’ll play 40s music and have a sing-a-long like we usually do.’