Between them, the husband-and-wife team of Marc and Rachel Davies, have more than fifty years’ experience in the licenced trade – but Marc, who hails from Barry near Cardiff, has one rather useful skill which he hopes he won’t have to deploy at the pub, which sits on the banks of the River Thames: he was a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteer for over ten years.
“I loved being a volunteer, but my career took me inland from the sea, and there wasn’t much call for an RNLI volunteer at my last hotel in Wiltshire,” says Marc.
As well as working in the licensed trade, Marc (45), has also run a chain of leisure centres and spent time as a management consultant in the industry. Rachel (37) trained in the sector with Greene King after discovering a passion for the hospitality trade after waitressing at The Sherborne Arms, Aldsworth from the age of 14. She also worked as assistant restaurant manager at Burford Garden Centre for four years.
“We both love real ale, which is one of the main reasons we were happy to take over at The Riverside as Arkell’s brews fantastic beer and we know how to serve it properly,” says Marc.
“We think that running the Riverside will mix the science of serving the perfect pint with the art of delivering hospitality. It’s a very busy pub in the summer, so we’ll be concentrating on what we enjoy doing best: serving good food, using local suppliers where we can, and getting to know our customers.”
Marc might hail from Wales, but Rachel is a local girl. She grew up at Sherborne, near Burford and attended a secondary school in Lechlade.
“I’ve known The Riverside all my life,” she says. “I was so pleased when Arkell’s bought it ten years ago, and now Marc and I have got the opportunity to run what we think is the best riverside pub there is.”
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “They are a fantastic couple, full of enthusiasm and we are excited for the future of The Riverside”.