School head takes over popular pub
Buy this photo » Darren Simons and Violet McLaren have taken over the Victoria
A PRIMARY school headteacher is the new landlady at one of Old Town’s best-known pubs and music venues.
Violet McLaren and partner Darren Simons are the new hosts at The Vic in Victoria Road, having bought it from previous owners David Young and Anna Sprawson.
Darren, 28, is a sound engineer while Violet, 46, is head of Lethbridge Primary School, but pupils and parents needn’t worry that she’ll be distracted from her duties there.
She said: “The idea is that Darren is handling the music side of things and our very brilliant bar manager, Linda, will be running the bar side of things. Linda is fantastic.
“I’ll be doing the accounts and spending my weekends here like I have for the last 10 years anyway – I’ll just be on the other side of the bar!”
Darren said: “I’ve worked as a sound engineer in venues across the country and all the ones around Swindon. I’ve been working here for the last few years.”
The couple have been together for 18 months. Violet is originally from Kilmarnock and initially came to Swindon to work for BT. She began teaching in 1997 and has been in her current role for a little over a year.
Darren’s family moved from Liverpool to Royal Wootton Bassett when he was a child.
The couple decided to take on The Vic because it was their local and because they liked the music, comedy nights and other entertainment there.
Darren is a fan of everything from classic rock to 1960s bands and is a big Pink Floyd fan, while Violet favours noisier bands such as Nirvana and Green Day.
Violet said: “It’s the music that the place is all about. We couldn’t bear the thought of somebody taking it over and turning it into something awful.”
Darren added: “Everyone knows that it’s the only music venue as such – with a stage and a PA and an engineer – that’s left in Swindon.
“There are no plans for drastic change – we just want to listen to what the customers say. We want to continue the good work that Dave and Anna have done all these years.”
The latest information about The Vic and its scheduled acts can be found at www.thevicswindon.com
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