A POPULAR village pub which was forced to close down as a result of the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic has been taken on by a new landlord.

The Red Lion, in The Street, Kirby-le-Soken, pulled its last pint and served its final home-cooked dish back in October last year.

Redundancies were rumoured to have been made and the future of the much-loved watering hole remained uncertain, not least due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The historic 14th century pub, however, is now the prized gem of professional singer and passionate landlady Jodie Stone, 48, who was handed the keys in December.

Shortly after settling in and swinging open the doors she handed out free beer to local residents, but she is now having to adapt to the latest lockdown.

She said: “We cleaned it up, I ordered my beer, and we opened the doors, and we had a full restaurant on the opening night.

“The pub building is stunning, the garden space is to die for, and our neighbours have been so friendly, what is not to love?

“Then the announcement that Tendring would be put into Tier 4 on Boxing Day came and we were devastated, but we have now opened our doors for takeaway.”

Jodie, who is also the director of music agency Stone Entertainment, has promised to turn the pub into a buzzing and bustling boozer once gatherings are again permitted.

Everyone from tribute musicians to local performers will be roped into sound-tracking the nights of cheery punters and regulars.

The new landlady is also now catering for vegans and vegetarians and is offering a free delivery service until the national lockdown is lifted.

“After researching the area, we saw there is not a lot of food options for vegans, so we wanted to adjust and make a fuss of them,” added Jodie.

With no end in sight regarding the pandemic, running a pub successfully could become a worry, but Jodie is remaining positive.

She said: “I took this pub because I believed that we were nearly at the end of the pandemic.

“We are not making much money, so we need a decent rotation of customers, but we are just trying to keep our heads above water.”

To find out more about the Red Lion visit facebook.com/theredlionkirby.