Saturday pub goers raise glasses to beer garden fun as ‘an absolute breath of fresh air’ after lockdown restrictions

PUNTERS enjoyed drinks in the sunshine with friends in beer gardens across the Portsmouth area today.

Sunday, 25th April 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 11:28 am
From left, Nobby Hall, Norm Jones, Rod 'Hot Rod' Webb and Ray Smith. Drinkers enjoy the sunshine at the Parchment Makers, Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 240421-18)

It comes after The News revealed on Saturday that at least 27,500 pints had been sold since the partial reopening on pubs on April 12.

Enjoying a drink with friends at The Parchment Makers on Park Road, Havant, regular Dee Miller said: ‘It’s brilliant here, great service. I’ve been coming in here since it opened. The whole bar staff are brilliant.

‘It’s nice being here when it’s sunny - we love this place.’

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From left, Sid Kennett, Dee Miller, James Pimm and Trevor Evans. Drinkers enjoy the sunshine at the Parchment Makers, Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 240421-17)

Norman Jones, also sat with friends in the beer garden, said: ‘It’s lovely to be sat in a garden having a pint.’

On another picnic table, Phil Lymath said: ‘As long as we abide by the rules, it should be fine - all we can do is do our bit.’

While enjoying a pint, Mike Laybourne said: ‘It’s an absolute breath of fresh air. It’s the first time we’ve been in a pub since November.’

His friend David Tee added: ‘It’s lovely nice to be out in the fresh air - I’ve got a bit of a tan over the last few days!’

Ray Alford, left, and Phil Lymath. Drinkers enjoy the sunshine at the Parchment Makers, Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 240421-16)

Down the road on West Street, pub goers at The Prince of Wales raised a glass to celebrate the joy of being in good company on a sunny day.

Netty Higginbotham, who was out with husband Michael and friends Chris and Michelle Smith, said: ‘It’s the first time we’ve been out since last year, around October.

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‘We’re really enjoying it, lovely to have a drink with our best friends.’

Mike Laybourne, left, and David Tee. Drinkers enjoy the sunshine at the Parchment Makers, Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 240421-15)

The Prince of Wales pub is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and closes at 9pm to ease neighbours back into the pub routine.

Landlady Ann Redman has run the pub for the last 13 years, and says that she has seen many changes during her time in charge.

She said: ‘Last weekend was a really good weekend, the sun was out and we had a really great atmosphere.

‘We’ve been able to welcome two members of staff back from furlough, and they love being back at work.’

From left, Netty Higginbotham, Michelle Smith, Michael Higginbotham and Chris Smith. Drinkers enjoy the sunshine at the Prince of Wales, Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 240421-28)

Sara Pollard-Dambach, landlady of The Roebuck Inn in Wickham, said: ‘It’s been lovely, we’ve hired more people and it’s nice, busy atmosphere.’

The pub’s garden was almost full at lunchtime, with only a few tables left.

Sara added: ‘We’ve now got the new menu which people are excited to try - our speciality is burgers, schnitzel, and sharers.

‘We thought half term would be busy, but this is amazing!’

Among those enjoying a drink in the garden was the Heron family - dad Alex, mum Katie, and daughter Nancy.

Alex said: ‘Just being able to enjoy things is great, it’s all been a bit meh.

Ben Proctor holds little Preston while Emma Hicks sits with Neve in The Roebuck Inn, Wickham. Picture: Emily Turner

‘It’s our local, we live nearby - the chips and burgers here are really good!’

Nearby, another family shared food while taking in the sunshine.

Ben Proctor, who visited the pub with Emma Hicks and their children Neve and Preston, said: ‘It’s nice to get out and get some sun!’

Alex, Katie, and Nancy Heron at The Roebuck Inn in Wickham. Picture: Emily Turner
David and Andrea Roberts enjoy a drink outside The Roebuck Inn, Wickham. Picture: Emily Turner