Bright future for village pub

Amy and Melanie Dickinson outside The Shoulder of Mutton in Briestfield.
Amy and Melanie Dickinson outside The Shoulder of Mutton in Briestfield.

The only pub in Briestfield is back in business – and the 22-year-old manager of The Shoulder of Mutton is determined to make her new venture a success.

Amy Dickinson has quit her day job at a pet shop to concentrate on the pub full time – but her mum will be keeping a close eye on her. Melanie Dickinson, 52, runs The Little Bull in Middlestown and is now The Shoulder’s landlady.

Miss Dickinson said: “I’m quite excited actually - I’m looking forward to it. I’ve just finished my old job so I can throw myself into this. I’ve always wanted to be behind the bar. I don’t know of anybody my age that runs their own pub.”

Though she has been working in pubs since she was 16, often helping her mum out at The Little Bull, this is Miss Dickinson’s first bar manager’s job.

“Mum taught me everything I know – I’ve worked for her and alongside her for so long,” she added.

Miss Dickinson welcomed punters back to the pub at a ‘grand opening’ last Friday after a refurbishment.

She said: “It was absolutely packed out. People couldn’t believe the difference a lick of paint and a new carpet made.

“The locals are really friendly – just really nice people.”

The Shoulder, in Briestfield Road, had been closed for two years before it reopened in 2011. But it shut again in January after financial difficulties.

But Miss Dickinson said the pub is a viable business and is sure The Shoulder, which is the last remaining commercial building in the village, can become a central part of the community again.

“We want to get everybody back together,” Miss Dickinson added. “Everyone’s been saying they want us to make a good go of the pub, and we will. Friends and family have been helping out, even if it’s just been picking up a paintbrush or doing a bit of gardening.”