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After the flood - The Crown Inn at Snape

By Sarah Groves, also posted in News on

Teresa and Garry Cook at The Crown Inn, SnapeThe night of the 5th December 2013 will be one long-remembered by all who live in the low-lying areas of the East coast. Days of strong winds, a deep low-pressure system and high tides combined to create a powerful surge tide which overwhelmed many properties and businesses. Coastal properties and sea defenses were still being battered the following day (you can see images of the damaging waves at Southwold here). It's at times of stress and difficulty that friends and the wider community can help make disastrous situations tolerable and are a huge emotional as well as physical support. It is this support that landlords at The Crown Inn at Snape, Teresa and Garry Cook, are very grateful for. A number of coastal Adnams pubs were damaged by the surge, but The Crown Inn at Snape was one of the most badly affected. Teresa and her sister Maria rear their own livestock in the fields surrounding the pub - including Gloucester Old Spot pigs, goats, sheep, turkeys, ducks, geese and chickens. Herbs and vegetables are also grown in the pub's allotment in Orford and those that are not home-grown are as locally-sourced as possible. The Crown Inn, Snape, amidst the tidal flood on 5th December 2013Garry Cook explains what happened on the night of the 5th December: "Ahead of the surge, we bought a load of sandbags and filled them with sand kindly provided by one of our neighbours who was having some building work done at the time. Lauren and the bar team put the smaller items of furniture upstairs, while the lads and I tried to make the outside areas as flood-resilient as possible. The Police told us we needed to get the animals off the land by 6pm, which meant we quickly needed to find a home for our 60 Gloucester Old Spot pigs, as well as our sheep and goats. It was thanks to the kindness of local farmers that we found temporary homes for them. Of course, we thought that they'd all be back here the next day." The Crown Inn, SnapeUnfortunately, the surge was so strong that it broke through the walls and quickly flooded the fields, drowning many of the chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. The turkeys were provided with straw bails to climb up on to in the barn, but the water was over three-foot deep and they were overwhelmed. It is the emotional impact of losing the animals, as well as the financial cost of closing the pub in the run-up to Christmas, that was one of the hardest things for Teresa, Garry and the team to cope with. Teresa continued, "Some of the fields were under water for a month, and we were worried that we wouldn't be able to put the pigs back on to the salty land, but thankfully the soil tests have come back fine. I was astounded by the number of dead worms lying on the surface of the fields once the water had receded, as well as dead fish, but the seagulls soon took them. Rabbits, too, were drowned in their burrows." Cards and flowers from well-wishers on the reopening of The Crown Inn, SnapeThe pub itself, an historic listed building, was damaged throughout the ground floor. The wooden floorboards had to be replaced and the entire ground floor walls were re-plastered and one wall replaced. While work was taking place, the bar area was completely re-modeled. All the contractors were local, with lots of support from staff and friends. Teresa comments, "We can't thank everyone enough - there are just too many to mention. Our staff have been brilliant - a huge thanks to Lauren, Ian, Ira, Darryll, Ira, Sophie, Terry and Phoebe. We have been moved by offers of financial support too from our local community and guests of the pub - their thoughtfulness and generosity has been incredible." Teresa and Garry held a reopening party on 20th February and are delighted to be able to again serve the great Suffolk food and drink that they are renowned for. They are currently looking at flood defense options to minimise the impact of another powerful tidal surge in the future. You can view images of the refurbished pub here and visit The Crown Inn's website here.  

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Sarah Groves

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