Littleport Life takes a look at the Swan on the River

Its two owners are Richard Oyarzabal and Frank Burrow. They have an impressive work history! Richard has been a successful senior manager, project manager, consultant, fundraiser and executive in the Arts, Charity and Events sector. He has had a varied career which has included managing Manchester Lesbian and Gay Pride; creating outdoor theatre events around the world including Glasgow, Houston and Lisbon; managing a theatre company that used the arts to help homeless and ex-homeless people to make positive changes in the their lives and, working with the UK’s leading orchestras, creating an international contemporary classical music festival. He moved to the area to become Chief Executive of The Junction in Cambridge and subsequently became a fundraising and management consultant with clients in London, Manchester and Sheffield.

Frank started out as an Electronics engineer in telecommunications, he then went on to work in diverse roles for Coventry City Council including IT Support, research and cleansing management. After a short time running a web design business in the early 2000s he went into teaching, lecturing and teaching in universities and further education colleges. His expertise is in computer technologies, office administration, project management and managing people in work teams.

Our Roving Reporter asked how these two go-getters came to be here in Littleport and running the old pub now renamed the Swan on the River.

Frank said, “We met at a mutual acquaintance’s party and after six months of knowing each other became a civil partnership. We both reckon we were set up so that we could bore each other instead of our friends. We decided that Littleport looked like it would be a lovely place to live.”

Richard took up the thread of the conversation, “Our concept for the pub is simple, but ambitious – a good pub which serves good local food with a British theme. We embarked on this venture, setting up our limited company and acquiring the pub when we realised that we wanted a change of lifestyle from long commutes and working for other people.”

They were very pleased to have been contacted by the great granddaughter of one of the past owners from Australia. She told them that she had been born in the pub in 1961 and has many fond memories of it.

Her great grandfather Wilson used to own the pub back then. When he passed away her grandparents took over and then her parents.
Having been ‘The Black Horse’ then ‘The Swan’ when the pub changed hands again in 2012 it became “The Swan on the River”. Frank says, ”We have kept that beautiful name as it suits a beautiful riverside pub.”

Richard and Frank are obviously proud of their hostelry and emphasise its appeal! They continued, “The pub is a modern and bright place to eat and drink, a real English country pub. The bar is comfy, cosy and intimate, the facilities are well maintained and the newly refurbished ‘Riverside Room’ is a place where customers not only feel comfortable eating but can relax and drink too.”
In conclusion they told our Roving Reporter, “We work hard to provide high quality food. We have built what we do carefully, from ideas to methods and resources, to delivery of the food to the customer. Our first pillar is the development of a menu of predominantly British dishes. The second is sourcing good quality ingredients, where possible as locally as we can. The third pillar is trusting the kitchen team to deliver the dishes. We pride ourselves that, as far as we can, everything is freshly made on the premises. The fourth pillar is service on the floor, and our staff waiting on tables and behind the bar are enthusiastic, friendly, capable and skilled.”

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