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Landlady calls last orders

PUBLISHED: 10:39 10 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:23 03 July 2010

FINAL PINT PULLED: White Horse landlady Jacqueline Ellis who is retiting after eight-and-a-half years in charge

FINAL PINT PULLED: White Horse landlady Jacqueline Ellis who is retiting after eight-and-a-half years in charge

THE doors of a Gorleston pub may close for the final time today after its long-serving landlady called time- bringing more gloom to a pub industry already suffering from the economic downturn.

THE doors of a Gorleston pub may close for the final time today after its long-serving landlady called time- bringing more gloom to a pub industry already suffering from the economic downturn.

Jacqueline Ellis, landlady of the White Horse pub in Gorleston, cited the recession, rising rents and the smoking ban as the reasons behind her decision to pull her last pints today at a pub she has run for eight-and-a-half years.

In recent weeks, the number of customers she was serving during daytime hours on weekdays dwindled to just three or four.

Pub company Enterprise Inns, which owns the White Horse, has been frantically trying to get another licensee to take on the lease, but the firm's spokeswoman admitted the well known pub close to the Beccles Road roundabout might have to close.

On Wednesday , she said: “There are a number of people who have expressed an interest in the pub, but it all depends on whether we get somebody on board before Friday. It is a possibility that we may have to close.”

Miss Ellis explained why she had to call it a day, saying: “I think the biggest killer on pubs is the greed of breweries, their rents and the prices they charge, while the smoking ban has also played a part.”

The 52-year-old also believed the flexible opening hours introduced in November 2005 had a bad effect on pub trade with more youngsters choosing to drink at home before going to a late opening club.

She added the cost of a licence had also risen from £10 a year before November 2005 to £180 a year under the new licensing laws.

She said: “My customers are all devastated. My favourite memories are of the parties that I've held here. I have never got up in the morning and said I don't feel like working today.

“I said the day I do that is the day I have to retire because there was no other way. Well now it seems that day has come.”

The closure will not just affect the pub's regular customers, but also pool players who held their league matches at the pub and the Belton Cricket Club team who visited the White Horse for post-match drinks.

Miss Ellis plans to spend more time with her grandchildren Ruby, three and Ellis, two weeks and has had offers of jobs elsewhere in the pub industry, though she does not intend to become a publican again in the current economic climate. She thanked her customers for the support they had shown her.

In January, the Mercury reported how pubs in the Yarmouth borough were closing because of the downturn. However, a number have since re-opened, such as the Star and Garter, while The Mitre was converted into Lily's Wine Bar following closure.

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