Brother and sister landlords reopen the Fox in Pakenham

Landlords Nick and Sheila McIlwraith behind their brandnew hand-made bar at the Pakenham Fox ANL-160608-115428001
Landlords Nick and Sheila McIlwraith behind their brandnew hand-made bar at the Pakenham Fox ANL-160608-115428001
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Sibling landlords Nick and Sheila McIlwraith are celebrating the reopening of the Pakenham Fox following a extensive refurbishment.

The brother and sister team have worked tirelessly to renovate the pub, with help from the village community and its talented tradespeople.

The pair bought the building on February 19, 2016, although the pub has previously stood empty and unused since it closed in November 2011.

They have given the pub a complete facelift, transforming it from an old dark tavern to a bright and light pub, complete with a new bar - handmade by local Pakenham tradesman Bob Johnson.

Real-ale fan Nick, who has lived in Pakenham for 32 years, said: “It’s been a long time coming but we’re very excited and a little nervous.

“We’re learning as we go but we look forward to welcoming people through the doors.”

The Fox opened its doors to the public on Saturday August 8 at 6pm.

This will be the first time in the pub’s history it has been operating as a free house.

Sheila is currently based in Ayr in West Scotland but is planning to move to the village full time once she has sold her house north of the border.

She said; “Although, at times, it did feel like one of those TV makeover with an impossible deadline for transformation - except we couldn’t speed up the action - we’re thrilled to officially open.

“We are really pleased with the new bar, and seating areas looking over what will be, next spring, a beautiful meadow once again.

“Catering is currently on a modest scale while we get to grips with our shiny new kitchen, but there is a plentiful supply of drink - especially of excellent beer as we celebrate being a free house for the first time in the Fox’s venerable history.”