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Castletown regulars rush to sign petition to keep the licensees of Stafford's Railway Inn who have brought it back to life

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 17, 2014

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DETERMINED regulars who launched a campaign to keep their "dream" licensees who they say have brought their Stafford pub back to its heyday have rushed to sign an online petition.

Earlier this year the Railway Inn in Castle Street shut temporarily and its future was uncertain as owners Punch Taverns searched for a new licensee.

Manager Mark Wild brought in Peter, 59, and Freda Brooks in April and the couple have been a big hit with regulars.

They cleaned it up, revamped the beer garden and Castletown drinkers flooded back.

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Now for confidential reasons Punch Taverns has decided to change the management, with Mark Wild replaced by Andrew Woodward, who runs other pubs in the town, including the Bird in Hand.

Mr and Mrs Brooks have opted not to stay on as licensees but the move has caused uproar among regulars, who want to keep their landlords.

The residents, led by Tom Harris, have set up an online petition and deluged Punch Taverns with letters to reconsider management changes.

Mr Harris, of Doxey Road, who is also a borough councillor, said: "The community has taken them to their hearts. We would urge people to sign the petition which sends an email to Punch Taverns."

Linda Chell, 63, of Railway Street, said: "They are worth their weight in gold. The pub is now an exceptional place. All the locals have come back to it."

Sally Johnson, who has lived in Castle Street for 23 years, said: "The pub had been in a state of decline. That is until Pete and Freda took it over and what a difference they have made. We have the old Railway back."

Baswich resident Brian Hodgson said it was now the best it had ever been and Castletown couple Joanne Mattingly and Dominic Shenton added: "We have found our dream managers."

Licensee Mrs Brooks, 57, told the Newsletter: "With the change in management we have decided to move on. We have been overwhelmed by the support from regulars."

A Punch Taverns spokesman said their reasons for the change were confidential. "We suggested to our new tenant the possibility of employing the existing managers and they are in contact."

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