Sid Valley landlord calls time after four decades

Sid Valley landlords came together to toast the career of a long-time publican who is retiring on Wednesday.

Roger Newton has run the Blue Ball in Sidford with his wife Linda since 1986, but they have sold it on as they look to move on.

The Sid Vale Publican Association (SVPA) committee collected at the pub on Tuesday to present Roger with a tankard, as he is also coming to the end of two decades as the group’s chairman.

New chairman Steve French, from the Radway pub, said: “I would personally like to thank Roger for his help, advice and friendship during my 23 years in the licensed trade and wish him and Linda a very happy retirement.”

Roger has been a publican for 42 years, and the Blue Ball has been in his family for three generations. He helped form the SVPA to bring the valley’s pubs together and work with the police to enforce bans if someone misbehaves.

Roger, 69, and Linda, 68, have no plans to leave Sidford, or even the immediate area – they live next door to the pub.

“It’s going to be very unusual,” he said. “I have mixed feelings about retirement.”

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He added: “It has to come to an end sometime, and the place could do with a change.

“The new people have some good ideas for the place.”

The pub has been bought by experienced landlords, who are moving over from the Isle of Wight. Roger and Linda will celebrate their last night as landlords of the Blue Ball on Tuesday night with music and drinks.

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