Thursday, 1 December 2011

60 SECONDS: Neville Causley

LANDLORD of the Hunters Lodge Inn, Neville Causley, has been running the pub and restaurant between Lyme Regis and Axminster for eight years with wife Sarah, who also runs the Karizma Majorettes. The couple have two young sons, Jake and Harvey.

Neville has been a member of Lyme Regis Lifeboat Crew since he was 18. He also organises the annual charity Santa sleigh, which tours the streets of Lyme Regis every Christmas, bringing much excitement to local children, and which is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Here, Neville talks about why he loves the festive season and how he would like to see Lyme Regis developed in the future.

WHAT do you enjoy about running The Hunters Lodge Inn?
It is truly different to a normal job, it is a way of life. We have had some testing years, but we have achieved a great deal in that time. We have put an enormous amount of effort (and all of our money!) into this venture. I am a very “hands-on” landlord and always have somebody to talk to. It is very hard work, and involves long hours, but is also very rewarding to hear so many good comments about the food, and the welcoming atmosphere here at the pub. I am proud of what we have achieved.

WHAT do you like about living in the Lyme Regis areas?
I have spent my whole life within a seven-mile radius of Lyme Regis. It provides good schools for our children and I love being around the sea - it has a calming effect on me. There is a good community spirit in Lyme Regis, something that my parents encouraged me to acknowledge from a young age. Lyme is lucky to have a lot of willing people who give up their time to help others. Like any small town, it has its faults, but there are a lot worse places that you could be living in.

WHAT would you change or add to the town?
Affordable housing would be top of my list of improvements for Lyme. We were lucky that we had some savings to start us on our housing ladder, but many young people who wish to stay here are forced to either rent or live with their parents. Although I know it’s a controversial subject, and I realise it is dear to a lot of people, I would sell off the Marine Theatre and like to see it redeveloped into a state of the art Jurassic Heritage/Visitor/Educational Centre. As it stands at the moment, it seems to be in need of such huge scale modernisation which I would imagine would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

WHY did you start organising the Santa Sleigh?
I moved to Seaton for two years. Whilst we were there we had a visit from Santa’s sleigh run by the local Lions Club. My wife and I decided that when we moved back to Lyme we would start a similar thing. One of our friends told us of a disused sleigh from a carnival float which we could have on a housing estate in Honiton. We went to get it, and contacted Virgil Turner (Lyme’s Mr Christmas) got some of the lifeboat crew and friends together and took Santa and his sleigh out for five nights. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I don’t have so much time on my hands now, so Santa has to complete his visit over two evenings!

WHAT do you enjoy about it?
I love the Christmas atmosphere. Wherever we go, around every street, children’s faces light up with smiles and happiness (and grown-ups too!), and to top it off we raise some money to help somebody else. I strongly believe that helping somebody else is one of the best feelings in the world.

WHAT are you looking forward to this Christmas?
A day off! And some quality time with my family.

WHY did you join the lifeboat crew?
I remember as a child hearing the maroons, and watching the lifeboat go out from our loft window, shouting to my parents “the lifeboat is going out!” It is something that I wanted to do from an early age. I remember nervously peering around the old boathouse door being greeted by Paul Wason and Jim Thomas and being welcomed in for my first training session, and I’ve been there ever since.

WHAT would you do if you won the Lottery?
I’m sure we would have a few holidays to places we would like to go. I would buy my wife a car, and Harvey a camper van, as he is always going on about them! I would also start a zoo up for Jake, who is very passionate about animals, and then we would set up a charity of some description, as there is such a huge difference that could be made with the sums of money people win nowadays.

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