The Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland, near Clitheroe, Lancashire, had 70 covers booked in for Sunday lunch but had to call all of its customers and cancel their meals after the pub was hit by flooding – with water running through the bar and into the toilets.
Chef-patron Stosie Madi said the flooding was the worst the pub had seen since 2013, however, locals came to help by trying to sweep the water out.
Madi told The Morning Advertiser: “When they predict a tiny bit of dodgy weather, people start pouring in with cancellations but we didn’t have one call to cancel.
“I kept thinking the river might just go down and we might be able to salvage the later bookings. In 13 years that was the worst flooding. We had 70 people booked in for lunch.
“The residents (who were staying in the pub) couldn’t leave because all the roads are all linked to little villages by the rivers.”
Madi outlined how the water was coming into the pub through the bathrooms as there is a brook that runs underneath the pub.
She added: “Today, we are cleaning everything, have got painters in and are hoping to be operational by Wednesday, but it is disastrous to lose four days’ trading.
“We are lucky in that we havea contingency plan due to the fact we learnt before insurance [companies] won't pay out because we are in an 'at risk' area, and are a successful trading pub. But even for that reason, with the climate we are in and it being off-season, if the weather continues to be dicey then recuperating and re-jigging the figures and trying to get everything back to normal can be disastrous.
“Having a run of bad luck like that can be the difference between making and breaking a rural business. To recover from something like this is very difficult because a day’s trading in the off-season for a rural pub is important.”
However, Madi was positive about the future and praised the customers who were forced to cancel their meal plans.
She said: “It is difficult to get over but you have to wear it and ensure you cut spending down, save money in every situation you can for the next couple of weeks and rely on your customers to come and support you.
“I have had emails from people who have re-booked that we cancelled yesterday with the loveliest of messages. We have a lot of new customers thanks to the Top 50 Gastropubs but we have wonderful, loyal clientele as well.
“Shaving thousands off your weekly intake is a hard thing to swallow but we do have contingency plans in place for it. You don’t dwell on it. Already the bookings are coming in, re-bookings coming in for next week.”
The Met Office issued several national severe weather warnings for strong winds and heavy rain throughout last weekend, including an amber warning for much of England and Wales on Sunday.
Yellow wind and rain warnings were issued for north-western parts of the UK on Saturday, followed by a yellow wind warning for the whole of the UK for Sunday.