Scilly Publicans Call Time On Running Hugh Town Pub

debbie and alan eberlein
It’s the last weekend on St Mary’s for two of the islands’ publicans.

Debbie and Alan Eberlein, who’ve run the Bishop and Wolf for the past two years, are leaving to take on the tenancy of a new pub, The Heron, near Truro.

Debbie says they didn’t want to leave but have to spend more time on the mainland for family reasons.

They’re sad to be going and have loved their time in Scilly.

Debbie says they’ve met some wonderful characters in the pub, not least the late Mo Widdup, who was there on the very first day they started.

Sadly Mo died following a house fire in Hugh Town last year.

From Radio Scilly

Alan and Debbie on their time in Scilly

The pub trade in Scilly has been hit hard by the economic downturn and Alan says that’s been a surprise.

The shift to more self-catering holidaymakers is also affecting food sales.

But Alan feels that the tide might be turning and the hard runway at Land’s End, as well as talk of a new helicopter service, could help things to pick up.

They’ve both thoroughly enjoyed their time on the islands, and Debbie says even if she won a million pounds, she’d carry on working in the pub if she could.

But they also cautioned anyone who’s thinking of entering the business here that it’s hard work.

People shouldn’t come here as a pub virgin, says Alan, but get experience on the mainland first.

With only one delivery a week, you need to be organised, he says. You can’t just nip down to the depot for a few extra barrels.

And staffing can be a real problem. They’re lucky to have some of the best staff accommodation on the islands, but they often have to take people based on a CV alone, rather than an interview, which can be hit or miss.

They’re being philosophical about the move and say they’re looking forward to Chinese takeaways and kebabs. But they’re also going to miss seeing their son Mark, who runs High Tide on St Agnes, and their friends on the islands who have promised to visit them in their new pub.