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Final swansong for singing landlady in Gunwalloe
3:05pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in Cornwall
The opera singing landlady of Gunwalloe’s Halzephron Inn has performed her swansong after 20 years in charge.
The stage is now set for a new act, following the retirement of Angela Thomas on Sunday.
An emotional Mrs Thomas said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it here. Thank you to my wonderful staff, who are like a family to me really. I shall miss them very much; also the very interesting people that have come into my life through this.
“When my husband, Harry, died 14 years ago this really became my family – that’s pub life.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, however, Mrs Thomas already has a packed diary for the coming months.
She is moving to Ruan Minor, where she already has plans to set up a drama group called the Ruan Revellers.
Mrs Thomas said: “I just want to enjoy life and do things while I’m able to. I want to continue my singing and directing, and make time for that.”
A trained opera singer who both sings and directs productions locally, including with the Duchy Opera, one of her next projects will be a centenary celebration of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten.
This will be in the form of Noye’s Flude – the medieval English for Noah’s Ark – which will be performed in Penzance on July 15 involving pupils from six primary schools as animals.
It is exactly two decades since Mrs Thomas took over the pub, with her late husband Harry. Together they made the name Halzephron Inn synonymous with quality food and a warm atmosphere, winning plaudits both locally and nationally.
The pub was named Dining Pub of the Year in 2001 and 2005, and earlier this year was chosen as one the best 30 pubs in the country by the Times newspaper.
Highlights for Mrs Thomas have included the millennium celebrations, fetes held in the field behind the pub and the Movember fundraising carried out by staff and locals for the past two years.
“This has been a lovely placed to live. I’ve tried to be a traditional publican, opening twice a day and giving service,” she said. “I’ve just had a fantastic time here and had terrific support from everyone.”
Mrs Thomas has been in the hospitality industry for 30 years, previously owning the Mill House Inn in North Cornwall and then the Nansloe Manor in Helston for five years during the late 1980s.
The Halzephron has been bought by Ian and Claire Murray and David Adams, who are experienced in the trade having run the Red Lion at Mawnan Smith and at one time the Pandora Inn at Restronguet.
They fell in love with the Halzephron two years ago and were determined to get it.
Mrs Thomas said: “They really will be very happy here I think and do very well.
“I think they will be a very committed family and give it what it needs. It’s all about the right people coming along at the right time.”