Ten-year labour of love for Sun couple

The owners of a Kirkby '¨Lonsdale inn celebrate a '¨decade at the helm this month.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 2:00 pm

The anniversary is the culmination of a 10-year labour of love for owners Mark and Lucy Fuller to transform the Sun Inn into a five-star business welcoming visitors from across the country.

After pulling an estimated 254,000 pints of real ale and serving around 39,000 Sunday lunches – not to mention 30,000 room cleans – Mark and Lucy mark their 10-year anniversary at the Sun on April 10.

The entrepreneurial couple were originally living and working in Cheshire for a large hotel chain when they visited Cumbria as part of their wedding preparations. Despite being in a poor state of repair, they promptly fell in love with the pub and worked relentlessly to get it ready to reopen and build it into the award-winning business it is today.

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Ten years on, the Sun Inn has grown from just one chef and two part-time bar staff to employing 30 people. In the meantime, it has achieved a 5 AA star-rating and 2 AA rosettes for the restaurant.

Earlier this month it was also named as a finalist in the VisitEngland Awards of Excellence 2016, in the dog friendly category.

Lucy said: “When we first arrived in Kirkby Lonsdale, it was just the two of us working seven days a week to get the business up and running.

“We literally stripped out the building, filling up 10 transit vans in the process, and started again from scratch. Renovating the inn and growing the team has been hard work but it’s been an absolute pleasure to see how the business has transformed since 2006.”

The building dates back to the 17th century and Mark said: “Although we technically ‘own’ the Sun Inn, it feels like we are just custodians who are part of its 400-year-old (so far) history.

“For us, it has a very special atmosphere and we hope our customers feel that way too.

“As for the future, there is still more work to do as the market continually moves on.

“Over the past 18 months, we have focused on the food, bar and restaurant, but there are still plenty of finishing touches we want to make for it to be the best it can be.”