A popular landlady is retiring with her husband after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Jacqui Moxom has spent more than a decade of her life working for and then running The Chequers in Cray Road, Crockenhill.
The mum-of-four and her husband Neil took over the boozer in August 2016.
But now, they’ve decided to call it a day to spend quality time together after Neil was told he had terminal cancer.
In recent years the 58-year-old has had a heart attack and been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer and now brain cancer.
Jacqui, 59, has been taking him to Darenth Hospital for treatment every three weeks and they also travel to London every three months for a CT and MRI scan.
“It’s been getting harder and harder,” she explained. “He’s been fighting it for over a year and still going strong.
“Now is the time to sell up and spend what quality time we have left together.
“We’ve had so many lovely comments about how we have made it a community pub again. It’s been fantastic, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m going to miss it so much.”
The Chequers dates back to the 16th century and is currently owned by the Stonegate Group.
It serves home-cooked food, along with a range of beers, wines and spirits, as well as regular local entertainment.
“I’d never thought I would run a pub, not in a million years,” Jacqui said.
“We have four boys – the oldest is 35 and the youngest is 28 – so I was pretty much a stay-at-home mum.
“Then I worked at a school in Orpington as a lunchtime supervisor for four years.
“I just happened to be in the pub one day and the landlady offered me a part-time job.”
The grandmother has worked for the business for the last 14 years.
Jacqui was part of the bar staff team serving under two previous landlords before she decided to try running it herself.
She added: “When they decided to move on, I thought to myself ‘yeah, we can do this’.
“Originally we were looking at a pub in Halstead, but that fell through. It was fate I think.”
Over the last seven years, the couple has hosted hundreds of weddings, funerals, christenings, baby showers and private parties.
Jacqui and Neil first met in The Two Brewers pub in Shoreham, which at the time was Jacqui’s local, and have now been together for 35 years.
“We’ve met thousands of people over the time we’ve been here and I can honestly say there’s been some fantastic customers,” Jacqui recalled.
“We have had Adam Ant here – apparently he was dating a girl in the village once upon a time.
“Last year we also had a film crew in for a couple of days.
“They were doing a robbery/crime programme up in Swanley.
“The company came in and took over the bar. There was hair and makeup going on and everything.”
During this time the pair have been dealing with a number of personal issues.
Neil has suffered from a series of health complications, which first began six years ago.
“It all started with a heart attack,” he said. “I’m now on my third bout of cancer, this time in the brain.”
In 2019 doctors detected that he had Hodgkin lymphoma – a rare cancer that develops in the body’s immune system.
Around 2,100 people in the UK are diagnosed each year.
Following chemotherapy treatment and a routine check-up, it was found that Neil also had lung cancer.
He was taken to Guy’s Hospital in London, where he had a third of his lungs cut out.
Two years later in December 2021, Jacqui noticed her husband suddenly started to talk “gobbledygook”.
She said: “It just wasn’t making any sense of what he was saying.
“In the end I drove him up to Darenth Hospital and they thought he was having a stroke.
“Within an hour he had a scan and doctors said there was something in his head.”
Neil had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
The day after Boxing Day, he suddenly deteriorated again.
Jacqui said: “He didn’t know where he was – he was completely gone, just thrashing about.
“We took him straight up to King's College Hospital for emergency brain surgery.
“They tried to remove as much of the tumour as possible, but they haven’t got all of it out.
“That’s when they gave us a prognosis of six months.”
Jacqui’s last day is yet to be confirmed, but is expected to be within the next two to three weeks.
The pub is set to be taken over by Louise Dawson and her family.
“She actually used to work for me seven years ago,” Jacqui added. “Again, another local lass.
“She’s so excited and I’ve already had her in working some shifts, getting used to behind the scenes.
“I think she will do really well – people know her already.”
Jacqui says she has made the difficult decision to call it a day and plans to move into a three-bedroom home in Snodland – which will be nearer to their children and grandchildren.