A COUPLE who have run one of Prudhoe’s most popular pubs for more than two decades have decided to postpone their retirement in order to secure it’s future.

Olga and Keith Stokoe have been behind the bar of the Dr Syntax Pub in Prudhoe for 21 years this month.

The pair had been due to head to Spain for a well-earned retirement – but the coronavirus crisis has put a halt on their plans.

Olga explained: “We were planning to retire and go to Spain, but we can’t fly there now.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen.

“I’ve never known anything like this and I hope I never see anything like this again.”

Since taking on the lease of the Dr Syntax, Olga and Keith have created a family and dog-friendly local community pub with a reputation for sports.

They have introduced pool and darts teams and extended and refurbished the pub twice, the last time being four years ago.

They’ve also raised thousands for charities and given jobs to many of their regulars' children.

With no new licensee for the much-loved pub, which is one of the oldest buildings in Prudhoe, Olga and Keith decided to stay on and ensure it didn’t close for good.

Olga felt the pub was too important for Prudhoe to be lost.

She continued: “We decided to make sure that the bar reopens – we are going to stay on.

“Nobody had put in for it and the brewery were going to close it, but they asked us if we would stay on for a couple of extra months.

“When a bar closes down, they very rarely reopen and we didn’t want that to happen after we’ve been there for 21 years.

“It means a lot to people, it’s part of the community, it’s part of Prudhoe. Prudhoe needs it, with the Fox and Hounds closing it’s only going to be us and the West Wylam on Front Street left.

“We wanted to stay and get somebody new in. It’s been a big part of our lives and we didn’t want it to close permanently.”