A man who made childhood memories in a popular Mortlake pub has become the second local resident to manage it in over 20 years.

David Cunningham from Mortlake took on the role of managing The Ship – a popular public house that is famous for its association with the University Boat Race.

The Barnes native lived in the area until his parents moved to Mortlake in 1989, which is where as a child he recalls visiting the Morgan’s who were running The Ship at the time.

The 35-year-old said: “It has been a pub I used as a child, I actually knew the previous manager as I grew up with his son, so I was always had a connection to the pub.

“My favourite memories [of the pub] are playing upstairs with Neville Morgan, a primary school friend whose father was the manager at the time.

“We used to get let in and be ushered through to go play Mario up in the flat, then come down and beg for a coke when we wanted a drink.

“There was always a bustle of pub noise going on and it seemed like a big exciting place from behind the bar as a seven or eight-year-old!”

Your Local Guardian:

David Cunningham would visit his friend at The Ship as a child

Mr Cunningham eventually left Mortlake and moved to North Hampton to study sports science.

After completing his studies, Mr Cunningham continued to live in Northamptonshire, and in 2010, he joined pub chain Wetherspoon where he worked as a pub manager for five and a half years.

In June this year, he applied for a managerial role at Greene King where he took over as the General Manager for The Ship.

Mr Cunningham said: “When I was interviewed for the role I was told that the company were looking for someone who knew the area and would be able to connect to the local community, I believe this along with my previous experience played a large part in my successful application.”

According to a 2018 report published by The Guardian, around 25 per cent of Public Houses had closed down since 2001 and, campaign group – Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), revealed that between July and December 2018, around 14 pubs a week were closing down in England and Wales.

In 2001, around 38,830 pubs were open compared to 22,840 in 2018.

When asked what he would do differently to previous managers who managed the pub, Mr Cunningham said: “In order to get people out of their homes and into The Ship I want to listen to the community and ask what it is they want from their local.

“I am planning a customer liaison meeting with my immediate neighbours; I am posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram and am willing to hear any and all suggestions.

“I am making sure we have a great range of sport on TV though the week, we had live music events through the summer which had previously not happened at The Ship, I am going to open early for the Home Nations matches in the Rugby World Cup.

“I have had bookings from local running clubs, we are exceptionally dog friendly so all towpath walkers are welcome to pop in and we are supporting charities with large and small scale events, such as a raffle for Team Rubicon (disaster support for Hurricane Dorian) and Macmillan.

“I feel that if I can invest the community in the pub, then we will see people coming back again and again.”