Love Your Local: The Raven, Southsea

CHARITY Chrissie Brothers and Tony Winfield ahead of The Raven's Willow's Vision Appeal night. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131930-0459)
CHARITY Chrissie Brothers and Tony Winfield ahead of The Raven's Willow's Vision Appeal night. Picture: Malcolm Wells (131930-0459)
Tributes left outside Fareham Academy.

Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180012-4)

Tributes paid to ‘outstanding’ PE teacher who died suddenly over Christmas

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It’s a backstreet pub with a relatively modern look.

But that doesn’t stop The Raven, in Bedford Street, Southsea, holding traditional values and caring for the community.

It’s raised £2,000 every year in the last decade for Naomi House, a children’s hospice in Winchester. And on Saturday it will do more to help others when it holds a fundraiser for Willow’s Vision Appeal.

The worthy cause helps to fund treatment for Willow Scotney-Williams, three, who was born with a number of problems. The event, which starts at 8pm, will include a raffle with 40 prizes and a performance from a singer.

Entry is free and customers will be encouraged to donate.

The pub aims to raise more than £1,000.

Tony Winfield, 66, who has been in charge for 21 years, decided to help the worthy cause because his niece Alison knows Willow’s family.

‘This is a backstreet locals’ pub,’ he said. ‘We know virtually every single person who comes in. It’s a place where people can get together.’

The Raven has got a loyal customer base and there’s people ready to come in for a chat when its doors open at 9.30am every day except Sunday, which is 10.30am.

The pub was built in 1966 to replace another called The Middleton.

‘Though it’s a 1960s building, it’s a traditional pub,’ Tony said.

‘We get lots of young and old people. I have watched families grow up together. We have always done charity events here. It’s part of being a pub.

‘It’s us helping people and us getting people to help others.

‘The regulars and staff do things for the older people like take them to hospital.

‘Everyone knows everybody.

‘It’s just like a community here really.’

Martin’s partner Chrissie Brothers, 56, is the pub’s manager and there are three part-time staff.

Food isn’t served but nibbles are prepared for the pub’s two dart and pool teams when they play. The pub has its own brewery at the back and customers are being treated to a 4.5 per cent strength bitter from it called Raven Mad.

‘Ten per cent of my customers drink it,’ Martin said. ‘The customers are very loyal.

‘It’s a working-class pub.

‘We mostly get manual workers because of where we are, but we sometimes get professionals from the law courts.’

Chrissie, of Southsea, met Tony 10 years ago.

She said: ‘We are a good team. Tony is a hard worker. He has done all the decorating himself and does anything else that needs doing.

‘You can’t fault him.’


HARD-WORKING Tony Winfield took over The Raven with his mum Joyce 21 years ago.

She passed away five years ago at the age of 82.

The pair had previously worked together at The Pomme D’Or, a former nightclub in the basement of The Lord Palmerston, in Palmerston Road, Southsea.

They were there for about three years before leaving and taking over The Ravenr.

It was under the ownership of Whitbread at the time, but Tony later on bought the freehold from the company.

Tony, who grew up in Southsea, Fratton, and Copnor, said: ‘It was available and that’s why we took it. Being a freeholder, I have got a lot of flexibility and can basically do whatever I want and sell what beer I want, which is a big thing.

He said he loves his job, despite seeing 10 other pubs in the area closing down over the years.

‘I enjoy it,’ he said. ‘It’s something I feel comfortable doing. I like coming to work.

‘I can be flexible and I come and go when I want, because now that I’m older I manage my time.’

Talking about whether he would end up retiring at the pub, he said: ‘I would like to think so. I would like to think I will finish here.

‘It depends on whether my daughter Victoria Winfield, 16, wants to take it over some day.’

Chrissie was previously a curtain maker in Southsea and did bar work in the evenings.

‘The job is difficult sometimes, but it’s something I find enjoyable,’ she said.