Family fulfil landlord's dream after finishing pub makeover

The family of Ben Doughty rallied together to open The Buck Inn in his honour

The family of Ben Doughty rallied together to open The Buck Inn in his honour - Credit: The Buck Inn/ Supplied by the family

A late landlord's dream of renovating his beloved pub has been fulfilled by his family.

Linda Doughty's son Ben was in the middle of revamping The Buck Inn, Flixton, when he died in a crash on August 15, 2021. 

But despite the family's devastation at losing Mr Doughty, they vowed to finish the job he started and complete the extensive works themselves.

Outside The Buck Inn

Outside The Buck Inn - Credit: The Buck Inn

Mrs Doughty said: "There was absolutely no question about it, we had to finish the pub.

"Ben had put so much into this place so we felt we owed it to him to take it on ourselves."

After initially getting the keys in June 2021, Mr Doughty began work to renovate the pub immediately - stripping the top floor and knocking walls out.

The family of a man who died in a crash on the A144 have paid tribute to him

Ben Doughty died in a crash in August 2021 - Credit: Suffolk police/Supplied by the family

The dad-of-two had drawn up plans of what he wanted the ground floor to look like and had been in constant communication with tradesmen about making his vision a reality before his death.

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A week after Mr Doughty's death, family, friends and work colleagues met at the pub and made a plan to start work again. 

Mrs Doughty said: "We had to understand from all the trades what their individual plans were and collate them all together.

"I'm not going to lie - it was very hard. It took seven days a week for three months straight but we did it - we did it for Ben."

The snug in The Buck Inn after its revamp

The snug in The Buck Inn after its revamp - Credit: The Buck Inn

The family began by gutting the restaurant and plastering it with a new ceiling, panelling and electrics before reinstating the bar area and a new coffee room.

Having been covered up for decades, the group then restored the original parquet floor and the kitchen was emptied, deep cleaned and replaced almost all of the appliances.

The front bar also required a new ceiling, new panelling, bar tops and new cupboards.

The Buck Inn's afternoon tea has proven popular among customers

The Buck Inn's afternoon tea has proven popular among customers - Credit: The Buck Inn

After completing the major transformation, the pub opened its doors for the first time on October 27.

And since launching under manager Mark Cooper's guidance, the pub has introduced a carvery and afternoon tea offering - which has recently drawn praise from a Guardian writer who described it as the "best they'd had".

Mrs Doughty admitted the project "kept the family going" during their darkest days before adding gradual improvements are continuing to be made to the pub.

The Buck Inn bar prior to renovation

The Buck Inn bar prior to renovation - Credit: The Buck Inn

She said: "I think it will be at least another year until we can take a step back as there are still developments happening.

"It's kept us going to be honest and given the family something to focus on and help us through the darkest days.

"We have some great staff, great friends and a very, very large extended new family of contractors which have worked tirelessly beside us to help us achieve 'Ben's dream'."