The new General Manager of a popular Shepherd Neame pub in Ashford has vowed to ensure it goes from strength to strength, after the death of his much-loved predecessor.
Zoran Beasley, who dreamt of working at the Singleton Barn in Hoxton Close back when he was doing his paper round in the area as a teenager, takes on the top role at the pub after 10 years working there.
He had been working as Assistant Manager under General Manager Darren Bispham when his mentor and friend died following a long battle with cancer in June.
And although his appointment to the role is tinged with sadness, he said: “I will continue to take his work forward - but with my own ideas too.
“We are very good at what we do at the Singleton Barn, but I want us to be even better!”
He added: “Darren was great to work with - he allowed you to make mistakes and always offered support. We only had three cross words in 10 years of working together. He was a great friend to me and a great mentor as well. He would be chuffed to bits that I am here doing this.”
Zoran, 47, went into the hospitality business at the age of 18, starting on cruise ships in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. He has also worked as a wedding planner and restaurant manager at the Ashford International Hotel, and for pub groups Marstons and Mitchells & Butlers.
But his goal had always been to work at his Shepherd Neame local, the Singleton Barn, and 10 years ago this became a reality. “If you cut me, this place will fall out, I love it so much,” he said. “This isn’t work for me - I really enjoy it. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
The pub is in a beautifully converted tithe barn which dates back to 1631 and still boasts original oak beams and rafters. The large site, offering 74 tables, serves a delicious range of light bites and pub classics every day, including its popular roast on Sunday. It has recently undergone a renovation of the decking in its spacious beer garden.
The pub, which has a pool table, is renowned for its sports focus, hosting a number of local football and pool teams.
Zoran, who lives locally with his partner and blended family of five children, plans to ensure that the pub remains at the heart of the community. He has been in charge of organising its popular August Bank Holiday charity family fun day for the past four years, which raised £7,000 last year. The pub also hosts a celebration for the Year 6 leavers at the local primary school and Zoran plans to continue these events, along with the popular quiz nights.
“We are first and foremost a community pub,” he said. “We are very lucky that we have always enjoyed great support from local residents and businesses, and we hope to continue building that relationship and ensure we do everything we can to support them too.”
You can find the Singleton Barn at Hoxton Close, Singleton, TN23 4TY, call 01233 629379, or visit www.singletonbarn.co.uk.