TV personality Fiona Phillips is calling time on her Dorset village pub dream.

The former GMTV presenter and her husband Martin Frizell took on the Greyhound Inn at Sydling St Nicholas in 2011 but the pub has now passed on to new owners and will be run by Rod and Janette Lamont, who have three other successful Dorset venues.

They are behind the Saxon Arms at Stratton, The Kings Arms at Longham and The Kings Arms at Stoborough.

Rod and Janette will officially take over the Greyhound in around two weeks and the pub will then shut for a month-long refit before opening in mid December.

Rod said that much of the work would be behind the scenes but there would also be an element of ‘cosmetic’ improvements.

A further phase of work is planned for next year.

Rod said the pair’s proven track record at their other pubs showed they were committed to making their latest venture a success.

He said: “We are in it for the long haul. We have been in the trade for nearly 40 years so we know what we are doing.

“It’s not just an investment for us, it adds to our portfolio of our three other businesses.”

Rod said the intention was to create a ‘destination dining pub’ that also played an important part in the community.

He said: “It’s how our other pubs work, we are very much involved with everything that’s going on.”

Rod said the Greyhound was looking ‘tired’ and was in need of some improvements, but he was looking forward to the challenge and adding ‘a bit more of a wow factor’.

He said: “It’s a big project but I think from the customers’ point of view it’s going to raise the bar quite a bit.”

Rod added that while current staff at the pub would be kept on he would also be bringing some new additions to the pub.

Parish council chairman Chris Legg said he was pleased to hear that such experienced owners were taking over.

He said: “We are all quite excited that people that have a very good proven record and are very successful in the trade and support their local communities are coming to Sydling.”


TELEVISION presenter and newspaper columnist Fiona Phillips and her journalist husband Martin Frizell took over the 18th century Greyhound Inn at Sydling St Nicholas in 2011 after buying the business for a reported £900,000.
They kept on most of the original staff as well as taking on two co-managers to run the establishment.
Martin said at the time that it had been an ‘instantaneous’ choice to take on the pub.
He said: “It had a charismatic feel as soon as we walked through the door, which is the most important thing in a pub.”
London-based Fiona returned to the pub in 2012 for a beer festival to celebrate their first year of owning the pub and admitted that while she visited as often as she could, the day-to-day running of the pub was largely left to the management team.
She said: “We have a brilliant team of managers at the pub.
“We are very busy all the time so they just keep things ticking over.”