A COUPLE are on a mission to save traditional pubs.

Tony Haddon and Kate Stevens have bought The Blue Anchor in Station Road, Portslade, which was closed for several weeks earlier this year.

The closure of this family-friendly pub had left many loyal customers disappointed.

However, the new owners have said the pub’s return has delighted many diners who have already contacted the pub to book a table.

Even more delightful news is The Blue Anchor’s long-time Thai chef, Apple Manchit, is rejoining the team.

Ms Stevens, 42, said: “Tony and I have been customers of The Blue Anchor for about 15 years.

“We’ve had a lot of good memories and we’ve made a lot of friends there. We met one of our best friends, who now lives in Ireland, and we are still in contact.

“We were told the pub was going up for sale earlier in the year.

“We saw the advertisement online that they are looking for new owners.

“We took the opportunity and we want to turn this pub into a community venue where people can get together to catch-up and have a lovely time.

“We’re very pleased that Apple has come back.

“She had been working at The Blue Anchor for about six years but she resigned this year.

“Customers really missed her Thai food and that one was one of the highlights of the pub.

“We look forward to bringing it back to our menu and Apple is very glad to be back.

“We will be serving great drinks and are planning to work with Small Batch Cafe, who could supply us a coffee machine and coffee beans, and Brighton Gin.

Last year, the couple bought The Albion Inn in Fishergate Terrace, Fishergate. The pub was one of their haunts where they played darts.

Mr Haddon, who works in IT and Ms Stevens, who is a freelance graphic designer, are passionate about preserving traditional pubs.

Ms Stevens said: “Pubs in many towns are disappearing and it’s a real shame.

“They are closing for various reasons like an increase in business rates, competition with restaurants and supermarkets selling cheaper alcohol. Pubs aren’t just a place for food and drinks, they are a community place to relax and make new friends.”

When asked why they have chosen to run their businesses in Portslade, Ms Stevens said it is an up-and-coming area.

She added: “A lot of people are moving to Portslade so it’s increasingly becoming a top choice for people.”

The pub will be reopened and welcoming customers today.