A COUPLE have described their sadness at having to leave a popular Much Marcle pub due to pressing family issues. 

Daniel and Jessica Pardoe said it was with a “heavy heart” that they were leaving the Royal Oak on the Ledbury to Ross-on-Wye road. They added that it had been an "honour and privilege" to serve the local community.

Since the couple’s departure, the pub has already reopened under new management, and is now offering a full menu and advertising for more staff

Announcing their departure last week, Mr Pardoe — who ran the pub with his wife Jessica for three years — said: "Due to the loss of my wife’s mum and the current health of my father we feel this is the right time to spend some time with our family. 

“We did look at bringing in managers to look after our business whilst we were away but with the ongoing issue with staff recruitment we felt this plan was not possible.”

He also paid tribute to their loyal customers and the wider community, saying: “I would like to thank you all for the love, support and friendships we have made over the last three years and your continued support that has allowed us to establish a fabulous trade at The Royal Oak, even under these seriously difficult circumstances during Covid 19.

“It has been an honour and privilege to have owned this business in such a beautiful area, dealing daily with such loyal and wonderful customers from the surrounding community.”

Among those who responded to the message on social media was Sue-Kay Weatherhill of Ledbury. She wrote: “I’m so sorry to read this, you have been wonderful. I do understand that family must come first though and wish you well for the future. You will be sorely missed.”

In a later message in response to all the "wonderful comments" — which they said had brought tears to their eyes — the couple said: "To finish on a positive note, The Royal Oak will continue to trade as a pub so don't fear I'm sure the new owners will have you drinking and dining in style soon."