Not the ideal start to running your first pub....picking up the keys on February 24 this year, just weeks before the country went into lockdown.

But now Ashley Cherrett and Tia Nicholson, who met while working at Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick, are open again after spending the last five months getting the pub in tip-top condition.

The Cedars in Wootton is the couple’s first pub.

Ashley, who grew up on the Isle of Wight, was previously the trade quality team leader at Fuller’s Brewery.

He has a passion for beer quality and is also a qualified beer sommelier.

Tia also used to work at Fuller’s, running the online shop and working as a tour guide.

She was responsible for the brewery’s famous Hock Cellar bar and was awarded Master Cellarman status for her high standards and outstanding beer quality.

The couple are also aiming to broaden the pub’s appeal and growing a reputation for excellent food. They will be focusing on keeping the food miles low with dishes such as Island beef with Isle of Wight blue cheese sauce.

Ashley said: “Tia and I are just so excited to finally be getting underway. We have a great local trade and we are also ready to make the most of the high number of staycationers coming across The Solent. "We’ve got an excellent team and I know we can deliver a fantastic pub experience."

“At the heart of The Cedars will be the best beer on the Isle of Wight, supported by delicious, fresh-cooked food.

"In addition, we will be looking to rotate our cask ale range to make sure we always have something interesting for our regulars, while keeping reliable old favourites on the bar too.”

Tia added: “I’ve worked in a number of pubs before – but it’s the first time I’ve been at the helm. We will be launching a number of events such as gin afternoons, cocktail nights and acoustic music to attract new customers to the pub.

"I’m also really keen to build our reputation for excellent food – I think that will be one of the key elements for our long-term success."