LANDLORDS at a pub in Cam are celebrating after successfully navigating the peaks and troughs of the trade for more than three decades.

Graham and Hazel Ponting have been pulling pints at the Berkeley Arms for the past 30 years.

The couple started their hospitality career in 1990.

Graham, who had previously worked in the engineering field, said he had always fancied running a pub, and taking on the Berkeley Arms meant he could continue his role as a fireman at Dursley Fire Station too.

“I would be serving behind the bar and my fireman’s pager would go off, so I would shout to Hazel, ‘fire!’. She would stop what she was doing and come down to the bar and pick up where I’d left off,” he said.

“Running a bar and being a fireman is quite demanding and without Hazel it never would have happened. We’re a partnership.”

Together Graham and Hazel turned the Berkeley Arms into a thriving pub which primarily serves the local community.

Graham said their approach to success has been to ‘treat the pub like home’.

“It’s like a big family,” he said.

“We’ve got to know generations of the same families over the years. We’re now serving 18, 19 and 20-year-olds whose parents first met in our pub.”

Graham particularly likes the social aspect to running the pub.

Before lockdown he enjoyed running karaoke sessions, sometimes taking the mic himself to croon his favourite Neil Diamond song, Sweet Caroline.

The couple also enjoyed giving local bands a chance to perform.

“A number of bands started up from here, such as Fracture, who now do big shows, supporting big bands. They started here as 17 year old lads.”

During lockdown the couple decorated the inside of the pub and rejuvenated the pub garden.

“Reopening after lockdown was lovely, it really was,” said Graham.

“Some of our customers said we’d got it just right and that they felt really safe, which is exactly what we wanted.”

Graham and Hazel are planning to have a big celebration of their 30th anniversary at the pub, but they’re holding off until they can have a ‘proper do’.

Ashley Lovett, operations manager at Hawthorn Leisure, which owns the pub, paid tribute to the couple.

He said: “30 years in any career is a wonderful achievement, but to successfully run the same pub for 30 years is an exceptional achievement.”