This month’s summer guest post comes courtesy of Rhiannon Stocking-Williams, who recently undertook a voluntary community project called The Jolly Regulars.
The Jolly Regulars is a series of interviews and portrait photos of 37 regulars (age 3 – 80) from the independent community pub, The Jolly Anglers in Newtown.
Over to Rhiannon…
In November 2017, I set myself the challenge of undertaking my first “public” project as an amateur photographer and a book about my favourite local pub seemed like an obvious choice.
I had lost one of my closest friends to cancer, (who had been a regular at The Jolly Anglers herself) and like many small, independent pubs my local was under threat. The book project enabled me to raise money for Cancer Research UK and also raise awareness of the important place these pubs they occupy within our local community and the lives of each of the regulars.
Interviewing 37 pub regulars, I met new people and deepened my friendships with others, took their portraits and hopefully captured the spirit of the pub. The book was launched in March 2018, with an exhibition of the photos at the pub. Book sales have exceed my expectations and so far we have raised almost £400 for charity.
Below are a selection of the photos and snippets of stories I have collected on this journey.
Phil D: “When I first started coming here, after a mate’s funeral, I came to the pub and sat in a corner feeling sorry for myself and John the landlord came up to me, put a double whiskey on the table in front of me and walked away. That gesture at that point in my life, it really made my day – in a day that shouldn’t have been made.”
Michael and Viv: “It’s a real local’s pub with that villagey pub feel. You come down here and it’s like being at your mate’s house. We’ve added quite a few people to our social network by coming here.”
Sarah: “One lovely sunny day in 2015, Ed and Chris were sitting outside with a guy I’d not met before and I remember thinking “he’s really cool- I hope we can be friends.” A few weeks later, I realised I really fancied him, and we’re sill together!”
A copy of the book is now in Reading Central Library and in the Reading Museum collection of the history of local pubs in Newtown, Reading.
To request your own copy, please email Rhiannon at: firstname.lastname@example.org