Love Your Local: The Woodpecker, Waterlooville

Woodpecker general manager Jayne Tillsley.
Woodpecker general manager Jayne Tillsley.

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It’s a community pub that strives to look out for others and help worthy causes.

Now The Woodpecker, in London Road, Waterlooville, is on a mission to send its loyal customers to Brazil this summer for the Fifa World Cup.

The pub has signed up to a competition run by McCoy’s where it stands a chance of winning four tickets – three of which would be for customers – to go to Rio de Janeiro and watch a match.

To stand a chance of winning, the pub needs punters to vote for it on the McCoy’s website.

It’s one of nearly 2,000 pubs taking part and it has to be in the top five by the end of tomorrow to be considered.

Yesterday it sat in fourth position.

Jayne Tilsley, general manager of The Woodpecker, has got involved because she wants to give something back to the people she serves.

‘The customers really should go because they are the ones who deserve it,’ she 
said.

‘This is a community pub and we do a lot for local charities, because they are part of the community.’

The pub has raised £3,000 for different charities in the two years since Jayne and her partner Miles Teece, the head chef, took over. Replica cheques that have been sent out are on display at the pub.

Jayne is currently raising money to buy a coffee machine for a local group that supports people who have lost their loved ones.

She’s also committed to helping Hambledon’s Flood Action Group and is holding a Benidorm-themed event on Saturday to help raise funds.

It starts from 7pm and there will be a Spanish food menu, entertainment, and staff will wear fancy dress.

A total of £190 was raised for the group, which has been helping sort out problems caused by torrential weather in the village, last Saturday as part of an event held for St Patrick’s Day.

Cash came from a raffle including prizes such as a hamper filled with wine, port, and cheese.

Voting for the McCoy’s competition finishes at midnight tomorrow.

Judges will then visit each of the five pubs and decide whether they deserve the prize. They will make a decision based on which venue has the strongest link to its community.

If the pub doesn’t win the top prize, there are others to be had. A replica version of The Woodpecker could be recreated on one of Rio’s beaches for the World Cup, or staff could win vouchers for a fun day out. Vote at riolocal.mccoys.co.uk

HARD-WORKING general manager Jayne and her partner Miles have come a long way in the time they’ve run The Woodpecker.

Last year the pub won The News’ Pub of the Year competition, and the trophy it received still stands with pride behind the bar.

Jayne, 44, said: ‘We’ve really turned things around at The Woodpecker in the time we’ve been here.

‘The company which runs this pub, Orchid Group, gets behind everything we do.

‘We were the number two pub out of the whole company from January to February.

‘There used to be six regulars that came here, now there are 50 and most of them come in most days.

‘This pub takes more money now and it’s still growing.

‘This pub has a nice, friendly feel to it.

‘You can walk in early in the day and it’s got a busy feel to it.

‘It’s important that our customers come to somewhere where there is a nice atmosphere.’

Jayne and Miles hadn’t run any other pub before.

Previously, the couple lived in the midlands, where Jayne looked after horses and Miles was a car salesman.

But after realising they weren’t getting enough time together, they decided to make a change.

‘We weren’t seeing each other and I was working 80 hours a week,’ said Jayne.

‘Then Miles got made redundant and we were sat in the garden one day having a drink when I said, “let’s go and run a pub.” The pair had an interview with Orchid Group bosses two weeks later before starting life at The Woodpecker.