Former Beyton publican’s son tells tales of childhood in story collection

Michael Orsler, whose family runs the Bear Inn in Beyton, has written a book about growing up at the pub. ANL-151103-094947001
Michael Orsler, whose family runs the Bear Inn in Beyton, has written a book about growing up at the pub. ANL-151103-094947001
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The story of one family’s long history at a Beyton pub has been retold by one of its oldest living members.

Michael Orsler’s relatives have run the Bear Inn for almost 100 years, and now the 83-year-old has immortalised some of its memorable customers into 16 short stories.

Michael’s grandfather took on the pub, in Tostock Road, in the 1920s. His father and brother both ran the inn, and his nephew is now at the helm.

Former St Edmundsbury borough councillor Michael said: “I spent the first 20 years of my life at the Bear Inn.

“I met a lot of people and there were a lot of incidents, and I thought it was about time I put something down.

“It was very moving to relive the memories, but I hope it will move others’ emotions, too.”

With four books already under his belt the new collection, Backalong, is the most personal of Michael’s catalogue.

“A lot of the stories are centred around the pub. It is not sociological or historical, it is a book about people,” he said.

Declining to step behind the bar himself, Michael pursued a career in teaching after studying at King Edward VI Grammar School, in Bury.

Having worked as a teacher in Suffolk, Hong Kong and Malaya, Michael moved to Exeter in 1987 with wife Juliet, with whom he has four children.

He said it was Juliet who ‘pressured’ him into getting his latest literary work published.

“I decided not to send it to a London publisher, because it is a countryside book,” he said.

“I’m pleased with how it has turned out. It is very distinguished.”

Backalong is available at the Aldeburgh Bookshop and the Bear Inn, priced £7.99.