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'We're back to the beginning': Young pub couple despair at Shropshire storm destruction

By Rob Smith | Wellington | News | Published:

A young couple have been sent back to the drawing board after storms severely damaged the pub they run just one month after it reopened.

Damage at the Beacon pub in Wellington which flooded during the storm

The Beacon in Wellington reopened after the lockdown just over a month ago but is now closed again after last night's horrific thunderstorms brought the roof crashing down and ruined the carpets.

The pub was one of many buildings left damaged by the torrential rain and lightning that battered Shropshire on Wednesday evening.

Managers Jennie Orgill, 19, and Jordan Slater, 21, have been running the pub since last year.

More on the storms:

Jennie Orgill cleans up at the Beacon pub

Jennie described the sudden destruction, saying: "I was just sorting out the last three customers at 8.10, they were leaving and I felt a drip on my head. I thought 'that's a bit strange'.

"I looked up and that minute the whole roof started dripping – the whole roof. I ran behind the bar to turn the TVs off and then rang my partner.

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"He came and went straight to the disabled toilet because it sounded like someone was in there.

"As soon as he walked in, a flood came out."

Flooding on the B5072 in Lawley. Photo: Chris James

They rushed to find the source of the downpour and saw that the ceiling of the toilet had collapsed. The torrential rain was now pouring straight into the building.

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Jennie continued: "It came rushing out, covering the wooden floor, and it went over the carpet down to the second room which has a pool table.

"The roof of the wash room where electrical equipment is kept fell in, that didn't take long. The roof upstairs is fine, it's just the ceiling down here.

"We just didn't know what to do. It was a bit of a chaotic night."

The pair have a good relationship with other pubs in the centre of Wellington and were given shelter at the White Lion until the storms passed.

Jennie Orgill, 19, and Jordan Slater, 21 outside their pub the Beacon

"We live upstairs at the pub, and upstairs is fine. But all the carpets downstairs are ruined, it stinks.

"This morning we were just tidying up. We are getting an electrician out, we have roofers coming."

The destruction is especially cruel because the young couple, who took on the pub last May, had only reopened about a month before the storms, with reduced capacity for social distancing reasons.

Stephen Watson cleans up over in Waterloo Road, Ketley, where homes were flooded

They had both taken night shifts at Asda in Donnington -which coincidentally was also badly damaged by the floods - during the lockdown to fund refurbishment so they could be ready for the Government's green light to reopen.

"We worked so hard during the lockdown, painting and decorating. It's all been for nothing.

"It's not going to be a one-week job. We've got stock that will be no good by the time we reopen. 2020 is just not our year.

"When we took over the pub in May 2019 it was quite a quiet pub. We introduced live band nights, we had rock bands playing – we were rammed.

"We had such a lovely crowd. Now we can't have live entertainment.

"We were doing so well and now we're back to the beginning again."

Other pubs around the borough also suffered severe damage in last night's storm, including the Shakespeare and the New Inn in Newport.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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