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Debbie and Darren Rousell have taken over the Ypres Tavern in West Street.
When they assumed the role behind the bar for the first time, it was a realisation of a long-held dream for the couple from Woodberry Drive, Murston.
Debbie said: “We’ve been going on about taking over a pub for years.
“When Darren left the Army in 1998 he did a course in pub management training.
“We looked at a few places, but for various reasons, we didn’t take one.
“I’ve lived in Sittingbourne since I was a year old so when the previous owner, Vicky Lewis, sold the Ypres we thought we’d give it a go.”
Although it had been a slow-burning ambition, for Debbie, 49, a medical secretary at The Chestnuts Surgery in East Street, and Darren, 43, a courier driver, the decision to switch careers and become licensees was seemingly taken on a whim.
“We’ve done a few mad things over the last couple of years, taking on the pub was the latest one,” Debbie said.
Debbie, who worked at The Wheatsheaf pub in East Street for 10 years from 1989, said she has done her homework and has found the key to a winning formula.
She said: “I did a lot of research before taking over to see what works and what doesn’t.
“A lot of people said lunchtime food was something they’d like to see the pub start again.
“And we’re going to start a quiz team as well as a ladies’ and men’s darts team.
“On Fridays from February we’ll be holding regular over-25s’ disco nights in our function room and different theme nights throughout the year.
“We’re also going to try a few quirky events like a table football tournament.”
Debbie said the new-look pub, which is due to undergo a makeover in the new year, will appeal to more mature customers.
She said: “There’s not many places to go for over 30s and 40s in Sittingbourne.
“We want to offer something different which works for the whole community.”
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