Published: 09:23, 27 April 2020
| Updated: 13:37, 27 April 2020
Two pubs which were forced to close due to the coronavirus outbreak have transformed into pop-up shop providing essential items for villagers.
Fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs, biscuits, cheese and flour are now available to buy at the Kings Head in Shadoxhurst, near Ashford.
Landlords Julie and Ian Clark are also making fresh cakes, bread and pastries for their customers, as well as made to order birthday cakes.
Mrs Clark, who has run the pub for 18 years, said: "After we closed on that Friday it was a bit of a shock. We were all left in limbo.
"We had a bit of stock leftover so thought we would help out the villagers.
"But now we are ordering stock regularly to sell.
"We get milk, fruit and vegetables and flour when the supplier has it. We also make fresh cakes and bread.
"It's keeping the pub going. I think if the pub had closed its doors completely it would have been very sad.
"But it is keeping us busy too. We've met so many nice people who have come in."
The new pop-up shop is open Thursday to Sunday and has been very well received by those living near by.
Mum of four Mrs Clark added: "A lot of the people who live here are older and might have to get a bus to go to the shops.
"And if anyone needs anything specific we can try and order it in for them."
Customer John Tomas has praised the couple for all their hard work.
He said: "They have been a great help to the village and those of us who don’t like or feel safe to queue at larger supermarkets.
"It has grown to offer a large range of fruit and vegetables to fresh meat, cheeses, milk, bread, flour and BBQ packs.
"The landlady is a former pastry chef and she’s offering daily selection of cakes, puddings, hot pasties and sausage rolls - all the essentials and much more, even delivering to some high risk elderly villagers.
"They have done a great job and have been great supporters of the village over the past 18 years and deserve some recognition."
The pub is also offering take-away dinners.
And it is a similar situation at The Flying Horse in Boughton Aluph, also near Ashford.
Soon after shutting down, staff set up tables outside the pub selling milk, eggs and bread. But as demand grew, so did the items available.
Landlord Nicky Horton said: "We set up the shop after we got told to lockdown. We had a deep clean and then re-opened on the Monday knowing people around us are fairly elderly and couldn't get out and about.
"We started with a table out front selling milk and eggs, and that sold out.
"Now we sell most things, including wine, flour, soft drinks, meat, vegetables.
"We're getting deliveries every other day.
"Someone had gone to Sainsbury's and couldn't get yeast or flour and staff told them we had it.
"We did it for the community, but we also have bills to pay.
"Summer is a very busy time for us usually when we get a lot of trade. So it is a struggle."
Thy Flying Horse's shop is open every day 10am-2pm. It is also doing hot foods, including a take away roast on a Sunday.
More by this authorSam Williams