A BRAND new beer and cider festival has been launched at Chard’s most haunted pub.

The Choughs Hotel in Chard celebrated one year of trading on Saturday, June 30, hosting their new annual beer and cider festival.

Owner Debra Barrett hosted the event to raise money for Parkinsons UK, who supported her father before he died.

The festival included an outside bar with 11 beers and 10 ciders, including Perry’s Cider, as well as various birds of prey and catering facilities.

Debra took over the pub following the departure of the previous owners, who had been in the job for 15 years.

She said ‘there have been many ups and downs’, and attributed her lively first year to the ‘regulars who have been supportive since day one’.

The event was officially opened by Chard Town Crier Stuart Cumming and Mayor Garry Shortland at 1pm, attracting many residents.

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Staff and punters enjoying the day

Referring to his previous job in Yeovil, Jay Holmes, the bar manager, said: “It’s harder work than before and everyone is one big family here.”

Stuart Cumming added The Choughs is ‘a fantastic pub’ and that the festival was ‘a great way to grow following the one year takeover’.

Running the pub has been quite a challenge for Debra, who worked the door at the Chough’s for seven years before making the transition behind the bar.

The change in owners had been a big step up from her previous role, along with the ghostly happenings of the pub.

The pub has been branded ‘one of the most haunted places in Britain’, with the television programme Most Haunted having visited in 2004.

Aside from seeing a ghoulish character and finding smashed bottles and glasses, it seems Debra is here to stay.

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