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Fiona appointed as General Manager at The Old Vicarage

Tuesday 16th April, 2019

FIONA Crook has recently (April, 2019) been appointed as the General Manager at The Old Vicarage hotel and restaurant in Bridgwater.

Her role includes overseeing the running of the hotel, restaurant, bar, kitchen and housekeeping in the Grade II listed property, which is currently being renovated.

She said: “I am really excited about my new role. I looked around The Old Vicarage last year with the owners and we saw real potential in it and had an insight into the work that needed doing. It was very easy to say ‘yes’ when I was invited to be the General Manager and I am looking forward to putting our stamp on the beautiful boutique hotel The Old Vicarage is going to become.”

Fiona has worked in the pub and hospitality industry since she was 18 and lived in Surrey before moving to Somerset. Her first job in Somerset was at The Bower Inn, also in Bridgwater, which was previously owned and run by husband and wife team, Peter Starling and Candida Leaver, who now own The Old Vicarage.

In her spare time Fiona enjoys spending time with her daughter as well as walking.

She has also recently discovered a love for photography and capturing the birds and wildlife where she lives in Burrowbridge.

Peter, Candida and the team hope to have the restaurant renovated and re-opened in May and some of the rooms relaunched around the same time, with the rest to follow in the autumn.

Peter, Owner of The Old Vicarage, said: “We’re thrilled to have appointed Fiona as our General Manager. We have worked with her for many years and she is fantastic at what she does, so we know The Old Vicarage is in very safe hands.”

The Old Vicarage is located in the town centre and has a south facing patio and garden within its central courtyard, which is accessed by an ancient archway, once used by horses and carriages and made in part from visible wattle and daub.

It is just one of the few Grade II listed buildings in Bridgwater and dates back to 1327.

Before taking on The Old Vicarage, Peter and Candida owned The Bower Inn. They bought it in 2010 when it was a rundown and empty country pub and spent seven years revamping the inn’s fortunes and creating a highly successful pub, restaurant and boutique hotel with an excellent reputation for ambience, customer service and food. They sold the business in November 2017 to the Butcombe Pubs chain.

Peter added: “The Old Vicarage is a charming building with some wonderful historical links to Bridgwater’s past including reputably being the place Judge Jeffreys stayed and, also, providing lodgings for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed the train station, also Grade II listed, and a bridge in the town. The hotel is at the very heart of Bridgwater and has desperately needed some TLC.

“We fell in love with it when we first looked around last year and have been working hard behind the scenes to get our trusted and loyal suppliers, and our award-winning team, back together again to take this venture forward.

“Anyone who knows us from our time at The Bower Inn will appreciate we’re sticklers for standards and details, and that it is vital we update the décor and upgrade facilities here at The Old Vicarage as soon as possible.

“We’re delighted we’ve been able to take this unique property on and are very excited about the prospect of offering something new to the discerning residents of Bridgwater, the surrounding area and, also, anyone further afield wishing to stay here. We’re proud of Bridgwater and are really pleased we’ve been able to find another property for us to renovate and bring back to life in the town.

“As hoteliers, we’re very flexible and will go that extra mile to welcome our guests and be accommodating. Being a small, friendly, family-run, independent operation means we are highly proactive and customer-focused.”

For further details about The Old Vicarage, which is on St. Mary Street in Bridgwater, please call 01278 458891. Alternatively, please follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/oldvicaragebridgwater or on Twitter @oldvicaragebri.

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