He’s spent nearly three decades protecting the country, now Paul Cartwright is adjusting to civvy street with his new job as pub landlord.
Paul took over the Eastfield Hotel, in Prince Albert Road, Southsea, on October 2 after the previous landlord retired.
Now Paul and his wife Jayne are hoping to inject some new life into the traditional pub to bring in the punters.
The 44-year-old said: ‘It is something that I have always wanted to do. My grandfather used to run bars in Plymouth in the Barbican and I have family who run pubs up north. I have been living in Portsmouth for 21 years so I decided to go for it.’
Paul left his job as Petty Officer Weapons Engineer in the Navy last December after being medically discharged.
He had served for nearly 28 years, on HMS Brazen, HMS Illustrious, HMS Chatham, HMS Lancaster, HMS Newcastle, HMS Exeter, HMS Dauntless and HMS Daring, as well as at HMS Collingwood and at Portsmouth dockyard.
He had suffered complications after breaking his back while playing a game of rugby for the Navy, and also had problems with his shoulder after being injured while on duty in Belize.
After a long recovery, he retrained with EI Group, which owns the Eastfield Hotel, to fulfil his dream of becoming a landlord.
When the Eastfield became available, the pub company got in touch and Paul agreed to take it on.
Paul has kept on the existing five staff members – and he has some help on hand from his family, including his three children aged 20, 18 and 16 and his baby grandson, who are also living above the pub.
They plan on bringing in more family-friendly activities, starting with a Halloween party on October 26, which will see family fun and games from 5.30pm, before a disco at 7pm.
They are planning a Christmas party, an event for Rememberance Sunday and they are offering the lounge free for bookings or regular groups. As well as the usual drinks on tap, they have a guest ale – Doombar – and also hope to introduce food to the pub, by opening a kitchen.
Paul said: ‘The reception has been brilliant from the locals. They’ve all commented on how nice it is. We’re working hard to improve the pub. Quite a few of my Navy friendshave visited too. We hope to welcome more people soon.’