‘If you have focus, determination, tenacity and drive, you will get through it’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Lessons learned: Brendan Padfield opened the Unruly Pig in 2015 and had to close for six months after a fire devastated parts of the building
Lessons learned: Brendan Padfield opened the Unruly Pig in 2015 and had to close for six months after a fire devastated parts of the building

Related tags Coronavirus

After a fire closed his business for six months, licensee Brendan Padfield learnt lessons that he has used to put the pub in the best stead for reopening after the coronavirus closure.

Just 12 weeks after opening in 2015, the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk, was hit by a devastating fire that destroyed large parts of the building.

However, this meant the team at the pub had been through a prolonged period of closure before and a focus on determination has helped get them through that.

Padfield said: “What we are going through is unprecedented and unparalleled but some of the tenacity, fortitude, spirit, reflection and the need to look at things relatively... those of us at the Unruly Pig have got that. I wish it hadn’t been that way but we have kind of got the T-shirt on this.

“There were all sorts of hurdles put in the way just as there are now. We had to have some strength when feeling a bit sorry for ourselves because we all have good days and bad days.

“You had to have a strength, determination and focus and that, when you were a bit down, the ability to reflect and say ‘I know it’s not great, but it’s not that bad’.

“It’s that old cliché but it does apply. If you have that focus, determination, tenacity and drive, you will get through it.”

Back on trotters

The former lawyer was optimistic about the public’s perception of pubs amid the pandemic and when it comes to them returning to pubs.

He added: “At the end of the day, isn’t it fantastic to know this obvious truism, but it’s important to hang on to it – the British people love the pub.

“The pub is an intrinsic cornerstone of our life. [The public] want us back. Their lives are diminished and we owe it to them to be positive, get back on our trotters.

“It’s not going to be easy, there are going to be financial challenges but [the public] are all financially challenged too, they have got their own issues but we are part of the social fabric that is going to say we are getting back to normal.

“That should be a huge encouragement to us all. Fundamentally, the buzz of the pub, there’s nothing like it and that’s why we do it.”

Strength and determination

Padfield outlined further how knowing the Unruly Pig reopened after the fire has helped make the business stronger.

He said: “It sounds a big egotistical but I feel like a million dollars when I walk through the pub on a Saturday night, people are laughing and having fun, people are smiling, people shaking my hand and saying ‘you’ve got a great team’.

“It’s simple and that’s why I love what I do. We have got to hang on to that and having gone through the fire – and there will be others in the country who have gone through similar horrible experiences. They will say they wish it hadn't happened but what doesn’t kill you, does make you stronger. Sadly, it has helped.”

He went on to advise on how remaining positive about the future can not only benefits operators but their staff too.

Padfield added: “You do need to lead from the front because you need to show you have got a plan, you’ve got confidence and, if you’ve got those, and show strength and determination, that will help your team because they will see that drive and they will be thinking the same.

“Some might be like rabbits in headlights, thinking what the hell is going to happen, the message needs to be ‘it’s not going to be easy but we are going to get there’ and those who say that, will get there.”

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