Waddington pub toasts award success

Higher Buck licensee Michael Heathcote receiving the Best Turnaround award from Thwaites Brewery estates director John Draper. (s)
Higher Buck licensee Michael Heathcote receiving the Best Turnaround award from Thwaites Brewery estates director John Draper. (s)
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The ‘Best Turnaround’ award at the Thwaites Awards for Excellence 2015 has been scooped by a popular Waddington hostelry.

Licensees Michael and Claire Heathcote took over the Higher Buck just over a year ago, heading up a major £400,000 investment jointly funded with Thwaites. They were praised by the judges for their commitment and dedication to restoring the pub to its former glory and the passion that they demonstrated in re-establishing the pub as a thriving local business.

John Draper, estates director at Thwaites, said: “In all honesty, the Higher Buck Inn was an eyesore in the pub estate before Michael and Claire took it on. Now, with a combination of a significant capital investment from Thwaites and the skills and expertise of the Heathcotes, the pub is flying. Michael is a very hands-on landlord and knew exactly what was needed to get the pub back up to scratch, turning it into a real credit to Thwaites and to the village of Waddington. ”

The new licensees have installed a new kitchen and given the downstairs interior a complete makeover. The renovation of the property, which took just over eight weeks to complete, also included the creation of seven new luxury bedrooms.

Michael Heathcote said: “I think our success demonstrates what can be achieved with a little determination and a lot of attention to detail. Having had experience working of with other pub companies, I can honestly say that Thwaites are incredibly easy to work with and have been very supportive in championing the changes we envisioned for the pub. All the people around us – including all our wonderful staff – have contributed in some way to the pub’s turnaround and it’s to them we owe our thanks.”