AFTER spending 17 years working for family in the pubs and clubs trade, Gino Fulgoni was more than ready to embrace village life as the new Temple Bar Landlord in Ewyas Harold, Herefordshire.

Opening the doors on January 15, Gino and his partner Rachel received a very warm welcome from the locals.

The couple looked forward to spending more time together and with Gino's parents who live in Usk and have an Opticians practice in Abergavenny.

Little did Mr Fulgoni know that he would soon have to deal with flooding cutting the village off, then the coronavirus lockdown enforced by the Government on March 20.

However, Gino is upbeat about the future and is using the time on his hands to put his stamp on the public house, central to the village.

He keeps in contact with friends, family and locals through social media, updating his "lockdown blog" regularly with snippets and pictures of his decorating, changes to the building and a little news about his new addition, Bella his pub pup.

Taking on three members of staff from the previous owners and employing a chef, all of the team have been furloughed until the pub can reopen.

Mr Fulgoni said: "I had such a positive great start in the village. Customers and suppliers have been so supportive and welcoming, they are maintaining that support and I know that when we reopen, the pub will be a bustling hive of the community once again.

"People here look for the contacts and friendships they make and build on in the pub atmosphere, and I feel that it is my duty to do all that I can to stay fit and healthy and prepare myself and the business to be ready for action when the lockdown ends".

It is not only the locals that have shown Gino and the pub strong support. He told us: "Suppliers have been great, understanding that we are all in the same boat.

"Our main brewery supplier has reimbursed us for all unopened kegs and Herefordshire Council have updated us regularly with information.

"It was a huge weight off my mind when business rate relief and grants were issued swiftly and smoothly and the support was there to help work through the furlough scheme for staff.

Mr Fulgoni has decided not to go down the take away route that some pubs are trying. He has family in Northern Italy and they have given him a very clear message.

"It is simply not worth the risk. My Aunt who lives in Italy is still too scared to leave her home and if a customer that i had contact with came down with Covid-19, I would constantly ask myself if I played a part in possibly spreading the virus.

" I can not wait to see customers face to face, but with my family living it a few weeks ahead of ourselves, and really in the thick of it, I know that we need to be patient, take the advice given, follow procedures and be there ready for the village".