Sweet smell of success for pub trade manager

Tom and Joycelyn at The Fenwick
Tom and Joycelyn at The Fenwick

The general manager of a historic country pub is celebrating two career successes this week.

Not only has Tom Wilkinson, of The Fenwick, been recognised in a prestigious national award, he is also set to see the fruition of adding nine new bedrooms to the Claughton bar and eaterie.

Owned by the award-winning Seafood Pub Company, which has six other venues across Lancashire, the pub will be the fourth in the group to feature accommodation.

The others are the Assheton Arms in Downham, the Derby Arms in Longridge, and the Barley Mow in Pendle.

Managing director of the group, Joycelyn Neve, said: “We’re really looking forward to the launch of our accommodation at the Fenwick.

“It’s been on the cards for a while and after careful consideration, planning and research, we’re sure that guests are going to love the new offering.”

General manager Tom Wilkinson, 26, from Hornby, has been with the company since 2013.

He has been shortlisted for Front of House Manager of the Year at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards 2016, for his enthusiasm and passion for the industry.

He will learn his fate at an awards ceremony in London, with the award presented by professional chef Tom Kerridge.

He said: “I was absolutely over the moon when I learned I had been shortlisted.

“It’s been a really busy time at the Fenwick as we prepare to launch the bedrooms, so recognition such as this is hugely rewarding for both myself and the Seafood Pub Company.”

Tom attended Northumbria University to study Business with Management & Marketing.

After completing his studies, he worked in various roles within the hospitality industry, including waiter, barman and general manager.

He added: “I’ve been working in the industry for 14 years now, so it’s a great achievement to be recognised on a national level; everyone at the Seafood Pub Company has been really supportive.”

“We’ve had a huge response to the new bedrooms at the Fenwick, and this, coupled with the awards recognition proves just how successful this year has been. I’m already looking forward to 2016, and all it has to offer.”

At over 250 years old, The Fenwick has a colourful past.

In the 1960s, the Wray floods put the pub under five foot of water before it became the place to eat in the Lune Valley in the 1970s.

2007 saw the Fenwick Arms, as it was then called, make an infamous appearance on Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Gordon starting a campaign for real gravy.

With several reinventions since this TV appearance, the Seafood Pub Company undertook a refurbishment of The Fenwick and reopened in May 2013 as a gastro-pub with large open fires, low beamed ceilings and oak planked floors.

Accommodation at the Fenwick is due to launch in January 2016.