A couple have said goodbye to the pub that they love after running it for 33 years.

Melanie and David Surtees, known as Mel and Dave, have called last orders at the Shipwrights Arms, Whitehaven, after an incredible 33 years of service.

Mel, 63, first started in the industry aged 22, in Bolton, she said: “I’d never been behind a bar before, never pulled a pint or worked a till, but I loved it. The pub trade was in my blood and the reason I never moved on from the Shipwrights was because I loved that pub.”

They moved back to be nearer family and took on the Welsh Arms on Tangier Street, which is now the Candlestick, moving to the Shipwrights three and a half years later and liked it so much they stayed.

Mel said the lease on the pub expired in December and the brewery wanted to make it a managed house again. They offered it to her, but the deal was not right for them, so they made the heart-braking decision to retire. Mel said: “I have been broken-hearted, I was not ready to go.”

They have so many happy memories of fun times at the pub and said one of the most memorable was a charity night for cancer research. "It was an auction night, it was such a good laugh, everyone got involved" she added.

They wish the new manager, Shipwrights barmaid Carly Weighman, all the best. Mel said: “Let’s hope people support Carly and we keep the Shipwrights going.”

She would have liked to say goodbye to customers properly. Mel said: “I just wish I had time to say goodbye to everyone properly, I didn’t get the chance, it was such a rush, I thought we would get three more years out of it. I didn’t have time to tell regulars. Sorry we couldn’t have a leaving do. Some regulars just saw the notice on the front of the window saying we are leaving."

“I’m going to miss the crack. Dave enjoys the crack too and loves his football, the weekends were his life, but we will still definitely go back when it opens if Carly’s got it.”

Mel wants to get a motorhome and is looking forward to spending more time with family, including daughter Kelly Surtees, who lives in Whitehaven and her son, Warren, and granddaughter, Jessica, in Weymouth.