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27th May 2020

Community and Red Oak Taverns come together to support long standing publican during Covid-19 crisis

The “truly humbling” generosity of over 20 local volunteers, offering their time and effort during the Covid-19 crisis to repaint The Windmill pub, Chipperfield has delighted pub owners, Red Oak Taverns.  The pub company has been able to contribute both financially and by ‘topping off’ the works with a complimentary brand-new external signage and lighting scheme. The volunteers’ ambition is to provide their community pub with the best possible boost to reopening, when this is allowed.

Dave Clark, landlord of The Windmill has been part of the pub and the community of Chipperfield, Hertfordshire for over 45 years. Initially a member of bar staff in 1975, when Dave was 25, moving to bar manager in 1990, he took over the running of the pub in 2001 with his wife Dawn. Unfortunately, Dawn passed away in 2016 but this has not stopped Dave serving the local community with his infectious enthusiasm. He has also generated substantial funds for various cancer charities. Dave has no current plans to retire.

Red Oak Taverns had already proposed and designed a new external refurbishment of the pub. The colour scheme has been shared with the volunteer group and allowed Red Oak Taverns to compliment the works with the new signage and lighting scheme. Further financial assistance has been made available for works that require more specialist trade support.

The effort is being co-ordinated by Chris Luff, CEO of Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce. As well as leading the group, Chris has used his extensive contacts to source paint (sponsored by Dulux), scaffolding and electrical contractors at little or zero cost. His cousin, ex Royal Marine, Matt Johnson has also contacted Royal Mail to request the repainting of the integrated post box to NHS blue, in commemoration of the amazing efforts of the front line staff at nearby Watford General Hospital. Chris has suggested that, in recognition of Dave’s long standing and unswerving service to the local community of Chipperfield, a community and charity service award be considered. Red Oak Taverns have agreed to sponsor this award which will be presented, it is hoped, by Robert Voss CBE, HM Lord Lieutenant at the future re-opening.

Chris Luff commented “There is a huge community spirit in Chipperfield. On many occasions the local lovable rogues have given their time to support people in need on projects organised by the Chamber of Commerce and most of the time it goes unnoticed.”

He added “There was a unanimous `count me in – Dave is a top man` from the team. To name a few, Matt Johnson – SFX Technician, Justin Johnson – All Aspects Building, Uncle Ian and Uncle Bernie were recruited and brought in experience and specialist equipment.  Councillor Tony McGuiness, Sean Giles and Mike Joseph all put in many long shifts to make it happen.”

Chris concluded “The work has taken about three weeks and literally not an hour goes by without one of the locals stopping and asking after Dave to ensure he is OK and, more importantly, that he is not leaving the pub. It has been a real heart-warming experience to meet so many people that really care for Dave and the Windmill – unquestionably a major community asset. This is testimony to all the hard work and long hours he puts in to make sure his regulars always get a good meal and a decent pint.”

Dave Clark commented “It’s really important that we do all we can to help small businesses to survive and thrive. Quite simply, I am overwhelmed by the kindness shown by my customers and the support given by the Watford Chamber of Commerce and Red Oak Taverns. Myself and Windy the cat look forward to seeing you soon when we are able to open the gardens and serve a few pints.”

Mark Grunnell, co-founder and Chief Executive of Red Oak Taverns said “At a time when our pubs have been forced to close this story provides real inspiration and hope that, in pulling together, we will have the best possible chance of reigniting our fantastic community pubs as soon as we safely can. It particularly emphasises the incredibly important role that Dave Clark, his pub and many other publicans like him provide to our local communities. I would like to thank Chris Luff and all of the volunteers for their incredible effort and I will personally buy them all a drink when permissible to do so.”


Notes to Editors:

Background – Red Oak Taverns

Formed in 2011 by Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell, Red Oak Taverns is an entrepreneurial national pub company which comprises 180 mainly leased and tenanted pubs.  The Company is privately-owned by its co-founders and a small number of like-minded individual investors.   The pub estate is mainly concentrated in the South, South West, North West and the Midlands.  Red Oak Taverns prides itself on its flexible partnerships with its Tenant Partners with the aim of developing long-lasting relationships.

Further details can be found on the Company’s website:


For further press information on Red Oak Taverns contact:

Elaine Beckett

Phone – 07802 782115

E-mail –