The photo I took last week and the article appears in the Autumn edition  of the Camra magazine. I look forward to my free pint for reproducing this. DT

North Sussex Pub of the Year Presentation

On Friday 30th June the north Sussex Branch made their presentation to the White Horse at Maplehurst, which has been voted the Branch Pub of the Year, An extremely enjoyable evening was had by all and we were joined later in the evening by our colleagues from the Arun & Adur, who helped the evening go with a swing (and a few headaches the next day!). There was a wide range of beer available to accommodate all tastes Weltons Pride N Joy; Stonehenge Great Dane; Harvey's Sussex; Stonehenge Pigswill; Wychwood Three Lions and Pilgrim Crusader. Simon Johnson, the licensee, runs the pub with his wife Beth and their 2 daughters, who were both born in the trade. He first took on the pub on 5 January 1982 when he bought the pub off Whitbread to run it as a free house. He was a mere 23 year old. He took it on with his brother Rupert, then 18 years old, who stayed for 2 years. Simon and Beth married in late 1982. He tells me that he entered the trade after failing his accountancy exams (lucky for us!) Simon is a long-standing member of CAMRA~ which he joined in 1984. He is a life member. He has bean at the white Horse longer than any other licensee has been in a pub in the Horsham licensing district. (He also tells us that he is the slimmest licensee in the area - although some would dispute this!) The pub has been in the good beer guide since 1985. The first beers he sold were Whitbread Tankard and Pornpey Royal (approximately 62p per pint - those were the days...). When he bought the pub he bought the stock of a cask and a half of Whitbread Tankard and a cask of Trophy, but he discovered that it wasn't selling as well as other real ales and some of it was returned. He approached Harvey's but was unable to sell their beers because of a Gentleman's agreement with King & Barnes which restricted the sale of their beer within a certain area. He therefore approached King & Barnes direct, which was an unusual move as trade was normally done through the brewery representative, The beer sold at 53p per pint in the public bar and 55p per pint in the saloon bar. There is now one main bar and a small cosy side bar, and the beer is the same price in both. Simon always has a good selection of real ale and estimates that he has had over 400 different real ales since he started in 1982. He generally has 2-4 guest beers on each week, He also ~supports a local cider producer, John Batchelor who owns an old cider orchard which dates back to the last century. He sells 2 other scrumpy ciders. In 1984 he rearranged the inside off the pub. The Victorian extension looked out of character so he and a school friend made it into the same style as the rest of the pub. The pub dates back to 22 June 1826. It was a Burrell Estate pub, for the land workers. In 1890 it became a free house then a Rock Ales pub (Brighton Brewery - prominent in the 20th century). It was then taken over by Brickwood Brewery of Portsrnouth and finally was sold to Whitbread. As for plans for the future Simon bought half an acre of paddock at the back of the pub 4 years ago and is planning to build bed and breakfast accommodation to attract passing trade. He believes that he needs to do this to protect the pub. Apart from running The White Horse Simon also has an interest in vintage cars. He currently has 7 cars. He started a sideline ten years ago using his old cars for weddings. His first car was a Simon Templer' (The Saint) Volvo sports car and he has had an old Jenso, a I 949 Triumph Roadster (Bergerac); a 1956 Cadillac Stretch limo and a 1937 Packard. The latter 2 of which he uses for weddings. North Sussex certainty appreciates the support that Simon has given us over the years. We were delighted to make the award to Simon and Beth, which was well deserved and wish them every success for the future.

Carol Lamben North Sussex CAMRA