THE couple behind the bar of one of the Ribble Valley's most popular pubs have decided to call time.

Terry Hesketh and his wife Kath have transformed the Freemason's Arms in Wiswell, from a sleepy village pub to a highly-successful food-orientated business in the six years since they moved in to take charge.

Now the couple have put the pub on the market with a £245,000 price tag.

Mr Hesketh has been very involved in the local hotel and catering trade for many years.

He began his career as manager of the 150-bedroom, four star Prince of Wales Hotel in Southport.

From there he moved to the Trafalgar Hotel at Samlesbury, and then to Stirk House Hotel at Gisburn, where he was managing director.

He later went into a partnership to run the Hark to Bounty at Slaidburn and then took over the Freemason's Arms.

But he said: "The time has come to move on and, although we have nothing planned for definite yet, it is time for a change." They enjoy their "weekend" when the pub is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and they haven't entrusted anyone with the responsibility of running the business while they are away on holiday - they have simply shut the place up for a fortnight!

Mr Hesketh added: "We have put a great deal into the pub and we have always thought that people have valued that personal touch from Kath and myself.

"We are going to miss all our customers and friends very much but it is time to move on - we have been doing the same thing every day almost for the last six years and we need a change!"

A spokesman from the chartered surveyors handling the sale of the pub said: "This is an exceptional business that has effectively bucked the trend, showing significant growth throughout the recession to the point where business is literally being turned away!"

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