THE HEART OF BRID: Cheers To The Ship

Charlie and Lou Kilburn have raised �5,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance this year and �30,000 for charity in the past decade.
Charlie and Lou Kilburn have raised �5,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance this year and �30,000 for charity in the past decade.

Some people say local pubs have gone to the dogs, but in Sewerby it is more a case of the dogs have gone to the pub.

Being a pet-friendly pub is just one of the initiatives which has helped the Ship Inn to earn recognition.

Charlie and Louise with their Best Bar None Award

Charlie and Louise with their Best Bar None Award

It was runner-up in the community categoryof the Best Bar None Awards for the East Riding.

The main reason landlords Charlie and Lou Kilburn were singled out for praise was because in their 10 years behind the bar, they have raised more than £30,000 for charities.

This year alone, they have collected more than £5,000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, as £1,8000 brought in at their fireworks display last month pushing them past the milestone.

“We try to help a different charity each year. Every charity is worthwhile but with our location, we have seen the work that the air ambulance does,” said Charlie.

At the awards ceremony in Beverley

At the awards ceremony in Beverley

Next year they will be supporting the local lifeboats and in the past they have raised money for the British Heart Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Their award at last week’s ceremony at Beverley Racecourse came a decade after they took the plunge and took over the running of the clifftop pub.

He said: “It’s not easy to have done 10 years in a pub. It’s quite an achievement.

“We have evolved and we have learnt that you have to have a work-life balance.

“I always thought that if a landlord wasn’t doing a 16 hour day, he was cheating. You have to be up at the crack of dawn because there is work to do prior to opening, especially when you are catering.”

These days, they try to devote more time to their many activities away from the pub. Lou runs dance classes in Bridlington and Charlie works as a personal trainer and helps to run a junior football team.

Their love of fitness has been behind much of this year’s fund-raising, as they have been sponsored to complete a number of endurance races around the country.

They also headed to Bridlington’s twin town, Millau, and became the first people from Bridlington to complete its gruelling 100km race - Charlie running it and Lou cycling.

They speak glowingly about their trip to France but December means they are back to reality in the pub, and preparing for one of the busiest times of the year. Christmas Day dinner was booked up months ago.

Lou said: “I have always worked in bars, but 10 years ago I was working in a solicitors office and I loved my job, but this seemed the ideal thing to do, living and working together.

“If we could do it all again, we would, although we might do some things differently.”

Despite their success, the Kilburns are not sure they’d encourage their children Ethan, Savannah and Marley to pursue careers in the pub trade.

“We haven’t had a proper family Christmas for 10 years,” admitted Lou.

Charlie said he’d rather they would travel more and see the world, but he believes there is still a bright future for pubs.

“People are starting to realise they are missing the social side of the pub. Interaction isn’t the same on social media.

“Better pubs and better landlords can make a go of it, but it does take a certain kind of person.

“People who come here appreciate what we offer and I think they like the fact we provide a safe pub.”

The Best Bar None Awards were run by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s licensing department. Similar schemes are in place around the country and premises are judged on a number of criteria, includingn how well they reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder and the training available for bar staff.
After 10 years, the Kilburns feel they know what they do best at The Ship.

Charlie said: “We try to do things other pubs don’t and find our niche in the market.”

Priding themselves on the dog-friendly environment, Lou added: “Some days it is like Crufts in here and people are thankful for it. To some people, their dogs are their babies and they don’t want to leave them at home or in the caravan.”

And despite all the hard work and the long hours, what is the bets thing about being a landlord?

“We have made a lot of friends and a different circle of friends. The customers make it what it is,” they said.