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Family's request for soft drink leads to lifetime ban

By East Grinstead Courier  |  Posted: September 01, 2011

  • BARRED: Jenny and Stephen Bessant with their children Alex Barron, 12, and Sian Bessant, 7, and the letter from the landlord, outside The Nutley Arms

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A FAMILY have been barred for life from their village pub for requesting that it stock diet lemonade.

Jenny Bessant has been told she can never return to The Nutley Arms because of the "tone" in which she asked for the soft drink.

Mrs Bessant went to the pub for a meal with husband Stephen and two of their four children. When she asked for a diet lemonade she was told there was none available, so she suggested the staff could get some in.

Nothing more was said on the subject, so the family were stunned a few days later when they received a letter permanently banning them from entering the premises.

Riding school instructor Mrs Bessant, who insists she didn't swear, said: "I was absolutely flabbergasted. I'm really upset about it because we go there all the time.

"The drink I wanted was unavailable, so I asked the barman to ask the landlord if they could get some sugar-free lemonade in and for that we have been barred. I got a letter in the post from the landlord saying he didn't appreciate being dictated to."

The family have been regular patrons since they moved to Courtlands, Nutley, five years ago. Mrs Bessant said the pub's landlord Nick Dimopoulos had offered to buy in sugar-free alcopops after she requested them in the past.

"It's a very quiet pub, but we have stuck with it through thick and thin because we believe in supporting local businesses," she added.

"We feel like we have been wronged because we have been so loyal to the pub. Very often I recommend to my customers to go there. Now he says he doesn't want to see us in his pub ever again."

Mr Dimopoulos told the Courier & Observer he took the decision based on what bar manager Simon Pearce said had happened when the family dined at The Nutley Arms on August 19.

Mr Pearce explained: "It's just the manner in which she commented that we didn't stock it. It was not very polite or family friendly."

Mr and Mrs Bessant, both in their 40s, will now have to drive elsewhere to enjoy a meal with their children, who are aged between 7 and 20.

"The letter was a huge shock, because we were on such good terms," Mrs Bessant said. "We haven't been out since really. We just feel really upset about it."

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