Cus­tomers en­joy a real sense of com­mu­nity ‘spirit’

Lor­can Lovett talks to the land­lady of The White Hart pub in High Street, Chal­font St Peter

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PUB OF THE YEAR -

ATRADITIONAL pub is still a hit with the com­mu­nity after serv­ing vil­lagers for about 400 years. The White Hart in Chal­font St Peter has been through many hands, and it is claimed there are a few ghosts to keep drinkers company.

Land­lady Rachael Bree, 43, has worked at the pub for 27 years, even­tu­ally buy­ing it with her par­ents Gary and Cherie Bree in 2000.

The com­mu­nity ethos went down a treat with the lo­cals. Char­ity quiz nights, con­tribut­ing to projects such as street dec­o­ra­tions and, of course, Ms Bree’s dog, Gun­ner the bor­der ter­rier, are all a suc­cess.

“I feel proud of help­ing the

y, Ms Bree. “We get in­volved in what the lo­cals want, what the vil­lage wants. We get in­volved in the com­mit­tees, we try to help the vil­lage as much as we can.”

The Bree fam­ily went into part­ner­ship 14 years ago, how­ever Ms Bree bought out her par­ents three years ago as her fa­ther was suf­fer­ing with ill health.

She said: “I trained my mum and dad how to work a pub; they trained me how to run a business.”

Her par­ents bought the popular Mer­lin’s Cave in Chal­font St Giles, which, Rachel says, was also turned into a ‘com­mu­nity pub’. Her fa­ther sold that venue two years ago.

The White Hart at­tracts a range of cus­tomers, with the old­est punter aged 94. Ms Bree added: “Lunchtime is what I call the boots and suits, all the of­fice guys.

“In the evening, lo­cal peo­ple walk down and have a few beers with­out any wor­ries.”

Quiz nights on Tues­days raise funds for groups and projects in the vil­lage.

The nights have raised more than £10,000 in 16 years, says Ms Bree.

Band nights on Satur­days and darts on Mon­days are also popular.

The only spirit which can be a hard sell at the pub­lic house is for­mer land­lord Don­ald, who died in the early 1900s. Peo­ple say he still plays the vi­o­lin there to­day.

“He used to play the vi­o­lin to cus­tomers,” said Ms Bree. “They say you can still hear it.”

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