Portchester town centre pub gets £100,000 upgrade before community fundraiser

A PORTCHESTER pub in the centre of town has had a makeover costing more than £100,000 – just in time for a fundraising day to support a cause close to the heart of one regular.

Monday, 24th June 2019, 6:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th June 2019, 8:36 am
Claire Wallace, landlady of the Red Lion, at the fundraiser for Harry St Ledger. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

The Red Lion, in West Street, has been outfitted with a fresh coat of paint, new furniture and a new carpet.

Manager Claire Wallace, who has led the team at the Greene King-owned pub for more than seven years, said it was ‘a big improvement.’

She said: ‘It’s really nice inside.

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‘The last refurbishment was over six years ago, so we have been waiting a while for a new lick of paint.

‘And I got new windows in the flat upstairs which is good.’

The refurbishment, which saw the pub close from Sunday, June 2 to Tuesday, June 11, was followed by a fundraising day for a regular customer’s son, who is looking to complete a bucket list of activities while fighting a terminal brain tumour.

Harry St Ledger was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a rare form of tumour, last year when he was just seven years old.

A holiday to Disney World, a visit to Santa in Lapland, meeting chef Matilda Ramsay and trips to every theme park in the country are just some of the things Pompey fan Harry wants to do.

The pub hosted the fundraising day last Saturday to help Harry tick items off his list, raising more than £1,500 with face painting, a raffle, an auction – and one rather painful experience for Claire.

‘I was in the stocks,’ she said.

‘Wet sponges can be quite hard, I found out – I must have upset a few people in my time.

‘But it was a nice sight to see everyone pull together.

‘We want to say a big thank you for everyone that took part in the day.’

One customer swapped the pub’s offering of burgers and chips for something less appetising in the name of fundraising, inspired by the hit ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

Claire explained: ‘One of our regular customers took on a Bush Tucker Trial.

‘He was sponsored £40 a dish, and he ate fish eyes, bugs, and all sorts.’

The Red Lion has live entertainment on the first Saturday of every month and will host a disco on July 1. 

It is open from 10am-11pm from Sunday to Thursday, closing at 12am on Fridays and Saturdays.