IT was a day – and a night – to remember for the next 20 years at The Swan Inn at Inkpen.
Bernard and Mary Harris threw a spectacular party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of buying the popular watering hole, thereby saving it from closure.
There was Morris dancing during the day by the Garston Gallopers and entertainment in the evening from the Chris Jagger Trio, fronted by the younger brother of Rolling Stone Mick.
Mr Harris said: “We were very grateful to Chris as he missed his nephew’s wedding to play at The Swan.
“Afterwards he left to join his brother Mick, family and friends for the party. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the music from his trio.”
There was a surprise in store for the Harrises, too, as the chairman of the West Berkshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), Richard Scullion, presented them with an award.
It read: “Special Award: Congratulations to Mary and Bernard Harris in recognition of 20 years at The Swan Inn, Inkpen, since April 22, 1996.”
A spokesman for the branch, Tim Thomas, praised the couple’s commitment to real ale over two decades and said: “It’s one of the few local pubs where you can always be sure of getting a pint of Butts Brewery beer from Great Shefford.
“For the occasion Bernard had got Jester, Traditional and Barbus Barbus. He also had a special mild from the Indigenous Brewery at Chaddleworth called Baldrick, with a special beer clip that featured one of the Garston Gallopers.
“The award was to show our appreciation for the way Bernard and Mary rescued the pub and for their subsequent good stewardship and commitment to local ale.”
The 17th-century inn has repeatedly been nominated West Berkshire CAMRA’s Pub of the Year but Mr Harris said: “Mary and I did not expect this award and we’re delighted to have this recognition.”
The couple have already had a letter of congratulations from the Prince of Wales after he took an interest in their organic beef herd.
Mr Harris said: “A couple of hundred people turned up to celebrate with us and we had a hell of a time.
“It was a great day and a fantastic night.”