Eastney local plans to celebrate Diamond Jubilee with party

CHEERS Regulars to The Artlillery Arms, from left, Graeme George and Colin Deere

CHEERS Regulars to The Artlillery Arms, from left, Graeme George and Colin Deere

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The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee may be six months away – but one Eastney pub is already making plans to celebrate the royal occasion in style.

The Artillery Arms, in Hester Road, is helping to organise a street party for patriotic punters during the Jubilee Weekend at the beginning of June.

The pub will provide decorations and flags for tables and live music bands will play in its beer garden.

It will also put on fun games, a tug-of-war and an egg and spoon race for the children of regulars.

The weekend will be rounded off with a visit from local musician and harmonica player David Barrett who will perform numbers in the bar.

Peter Watson, 64, who has managed the pub since September 2009, said he wanted the pub to be an active part of the community.

‘A lot of the people that live around here wanted the pub to be a focal point of the celebrations,’ he said.

‘It will be great to see everyone get together and have a good time.

‘Families often come and meet here so it seemed perfect to muck in and help arrange a street party.’

The pub, which dates back to the 1800s, also held a rousing celebration for The Royal Wedding last year.

Party games and entertainment from a local magician helped to pull in more than £300 for Mary Rose School, which accommodates pupils with severe learning difficulties.

Peter said: ‘We plan to raise money from the Jubilee celebrations for another cause this year. We’re not sure which one yet though. We try to make everyone feel like they’re part of a big family at this pub.

‘If someone doesn’t turn up then we check on them to see if they’re okay, especially if its someone who lives on their own. The pub gives a lot of people the chance to talk about their problems and let off some steam.

‘We don’t get any bother either. All the locals look out for each other.’

When Peter took over operations at the pub, the place was in dire need of a make-over.

So he set about extending and cleaning up the cellar so he could make room for more beer.

Now eight real ales, including varieties from Irving and Co Brewing, in Walton Road, Drayton, and The Oakleaf Brewing Company, in Mumby Road, Gosport, run on the taps. Just before Christmas the bar was extended and repainted and the walls were repanelled.

Peter added: ‘I’m proud of how far the pub has come.

I believe the work has given the place a big lift. It feels more welcoming and family friendly.’

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