For those of us who live or work in Burnham Market, the start of the month brought the sad news of the untimely death of Paul Whittome. As a newcomer to the village, nearly three years ago, I very quickly became aware that Paul - through his commitment, drive and personality - had with his family and team, created in The Hoste Arms something very special - a unique mix of pub, personality and professionalism. Somehow he has locals, dogs, children and all the rest, all mixed up and enjoying the same front bar - at the same time blending this into what has become one of the country's most memorable hotels. And you feel welcome. Creating this natural buzz and vitality isn't easy and to succeed is rare and remarkable.
Like many, I barely knew him - but when we did meet there was always a friendly welcome and - always - a sense of drive and direction. In the gallery, a substantial majority of our visitors, stay, dine or at least drink at The Hoste. For many, The Hoste is synonymous with Burnham Market; it is the focal point of their visit and we, like many of the other businesses in the village, have much to be grateful to Paul and his team for.
To establish such an institution - for that is what it has become - and along the way to effectively secure the viability and vitality of the village, is to my mind a truly remarkable and worthwhile achievement. A life well spent.