Popular Leominster landlady pours last pint

Ledbury Reporter: 1350_16007 Sue Witherstone who is leaving as owner of The Blue Note in West Street, Leominster after almost 20 years. (2968833) 1350_16007 Sue Witherstone who is leaving as owner of The Blue Note in West Street, Leominster after almost 20 years. (2968833)

A "DARE" to transform a fruit and veg shop into a wine bar while bored has left Sue Witherstone with somewhat of a legacy.

Landlady of the Blue Note for almost 20 years, Sue this month said farewell to the venue that helped transform the town's night scene and is heading to warmer climes in Italy come January.

But the Blue Note, and Leominster itself, will always hold a special place in her heart.

"It was a meeting place for everybody. If we hadn’t called it the Blue Note we would’ve called it the Melting Pot – it’s just one of those places. I’ll miss the social side of it without a doubt.

"My new house in Taggia is in a vineyard so instead of serving I intend to make it and drink the wine. But I won’t desert Leominster. I love Leominster. My customers have been great over the years. There have been weddings, funerals, proposals. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time there."

Sue moved to Leominster from Liverpool with husband Dave around 28 years ago.

As well as retiring from the Blue Note, Sue has also retired from her position as chairman of HAND (Herefordshire Against Night-time Disorder).

Husband Dave said: "Sue has always had a wonderful relationship with the police. She instigated the ring-round if there was ever any trouble in town.”

It was a love of music for both Sue and Dave that made the venue such a success. After transforming it from a fruit and veg shop the couple decorated it with memorabilia to make it 1960s style.

"We started doing jazz seven or eight years ago," Dave said.

"That’s a great part of it. It was a venue where you could have a meal and the jazz was included and you'd spent the whole night there."

And musicians, celebrities – including Elizabeth Hurley – and international chefs are some of those to have graced the venue over the years.

The keys have already been handed over to the new landlord of the Blue Note – Dave Wicks who already runs bistro and wine bar Gracies – in town.

Sue said: "Customers keep saying to me that it's actually the Blue Note now. They say it used to be the Sue Note."

And according to her husband, Sue has certainly left her mark on the town.

"We held a party a week or so ago and it was packed. So many people have worked or grown up there and I think it should be marked," he added.

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