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18th June 2024

Couple bid a fond farewell to Shepherd Neame’s Market Inn in Faversham after almost 20 years

A couple who will retire this week after almost 20 years running the same Shepherd Neame pub, say they will miss there always being someone to talk to – “no matter what side of the bar you’re on.”

David and Suzanne Pott took over the Market Inn in East Street, Faversham, on September 1, 2005, and never wanted to leave… that is, until retirement finally beckoned.

David, 69, and Suzanne, 64, will hand over the keys of the pub tomorrow (Tuesday ,June 18), but with heavy hearts.

“It is a lifestyle and we have thoroughly enjoyed it over the years,” said Suzanne. “There’s never been a reason to leave. There are times when you’ve had enough, but it is a good pub. But it is time to retire now. We will definitely miss it.”

“I will miss the social side,” said David. “No matter what side of the bar you’re on, there’s always someone to talk to.”

He added: “We used to open at 10.30am and there was a queue outside the door to get in! It is also quite nice standing and looking out from the bar. It’s a nice view.”

The pub has, and will continue to be, a haven for social get togethers, from bat and trap games (there is a well-used pitch in the back garden) to local bands performing live, and a range of clubs with something for everyone.

The social club was started back in 1962 and still holds monthly events, raising funds for charity, as does the men’s-only Winkle Club. It also hosts the Faversham Blind Club’s fortnightly meetings.

It has been a haven for live music since the couple had a stage put in, and another outside. Starting small, they now have a strong music following, with local bands appearing regularly, such as The Pepper Set and the Leigh Highwood Band. There’s even an open mic ukelele night.

Their contribution to the Faversham Hop Festival has also become something of a mini festival in its own right, thanks to the pub’s reputation for live music.

Fame on the small screen came in 2011 in the shape of four days of filming for gritty Channel 4 thriller Southcliffe, while the pub also made its mark on history by revealing an early Anglo Saxon site in the beer garden in 2019.

Charity fundraising included collecting enough for a total of four sponsored Guide Dog puppies, while awards have ranged from Faversham in Bloom winners for their hanging baskets, to Shepherd Neame’s Community Pub of the Year in 2009.

Family-friendly and dog-friendly, the pub has never done food and while its popularity could be down to many things, Suzanne says: “Some people just come here because it’s The Market. It is what it is.”

Above the bar are a selection of meerkats, bought by regulars and paying homage to the pub’s nickname of the ‘Meerkat Inn’.

The couple, who also ran The Beaver Inn in Ashford for two years before coming to Faversham, plan to move to Spain for their retirement.

Greg Wallis, Director of Tenanted Pub Operations, said: “David and Suzanne have been hard working licensees for us for many years, and this was recognised at our annual awards ceremony in May, when they received an Outstanding Contribution award.

“We wish them a very happy retirement.”

They will be handing over the reins to Tim and Lacey Stowell, who are already Shepherd Neame licensees at The Bear in Market Place, Faversham, and plan to run both.


About Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire Amber, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.

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