Readers will be familiar with the story of Mick and Linda Norris, the popular former landlords of the historic China Hall pub in Rotherhithe’s Lower Road.
The couple, who had been landlords of the boozer of over 35 years, had to fight a legal battle to save their pub and home after the freehold was sold to off-shore developer, Hamna Wakaf Ltd.
At times, Mick and Linda had faced the prospect of being turfed out of their home and business by Christmas Eve.
They only managed to secure alternative accommodation and an extension with the help of the community and former MP, Sir Simon Hughes. Yet their plight is not yet over. A costly legal battle with the developer – for whom the News has never found contact details – has left the couple with a whopping £22,000 legal bill.
This is the result of a battle that they only gave up due to poor health. As landlords of the China Hall, Mick and Linda did not just serve those in the local area pints. They established a focal point for people to meet and socialise, a place to establish a sense of community.
This was clear to the News as we attended the closing night of the long-standing boozer – which is currently standing empty – and heard tales of happy nights spent at the pub.
Now as Mick and Linda need help to pay off their legal fees, it is time for the community to return that service. We hope the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe will rally around the ex-publicans.