Lorraine Currie and Peter Trotter’s long held dream of running their own pub came true in 2018. But just two years into their stewardship of The Hare and Hounds in the picturesque Sussex village of Framfield, a global pandemic looked set to scupper their plans. In just 24 short months, Lorraine and Peter had stamped their personality on The Hare and Hounds, delighted the local community and started to project their reputation further afield through positive word of mouth. Winning CAMRA’s Northeast Sussex Pub of the Year in 2020, becoming a Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice, two year’s running and reaching the finals of the Uckfield Business Awards in 2018 for best place to eat, their combination of good beer, hearty food and a cheery smile was proving to be a successful formula. Lorraine, a self-confessed Vintage Girl and serial upcycler, has tastefully turned this historic 17th Century Inn into a treasure trove crammed full of interesting objets d’art, period pieces and trinkets. The restaurant and bar are furnished with refurbished tables and chairs that add to the eclecticism and create a cosy, comfortable environment in which one could easily lose a few hours. Leaving a 25-year career as a school business manager, Lorraine developed transferrable skills that have been invaluable in turning a dream into reality. “Peter and I had been looking for the perfect pub for a while”, explained Lorraine, “Peter’s background is historically in the building trade, after which he set up a successful seafood stall. We’re not shy of hard work and long hours, so owning a pub seemed to be the perfect next step for us. “My passion is upcycling, but with my skills in business management and Peter’s practical abilities, I think we make a great team. “It took us quite a while to find The Hare and Hounds as we had really specific requirements, not least that we needed a free of tie arrangement so we could serve our customers with the food and drink they want. When we found it, we knew it was right. Framfield is such a beautiful village with a wonderful community. “We presented our business plan to The Wellington Pub Company and before long we had our names above the door. It was a really easy process and it helped us fulfil our dream of becoming publicans. “It was all going so well; our chef moved into the accommodation above the pub, we purchased the cottage next door, which had luckily become available, and the food and drink was proving popular. Then COVID came.” As with pubs all over the country, the Hare and Hounds was forced to close for over seven months. “This is when Wellington came into their own and we were overwhelmed with the support we received which entailed a period of rent free and concessionary rent to get us through the worst times” “We took the time in lockdown to work on the garden, Peter created a fully heated undercover seating area from scratch. We both tidied up the lawns and borders and even installed a children’s play area. “By the time we re-opened, the local community had seen all of our hard work and were keen to get back to us. The garden clearly helped us accommodate people safely and within government guidelines. And while it’s a very different trading environment, we’ve started to bring back entertainment including live music; outside of course. “Things are really starting to pick up post lockdown, we’re looking forward to the years ahead.” Lorraine and Peter’s clear strategy, commitment, creativity and flexibility have combined to make them successful in a challenging environment. Their recovery post lockdown has been nothing short of remarkable and we wish them a long and prosperous tenancy.