The new general manager of the George Hotel, in Cranbrook, Kent, felt so at home as soon as she arrived that she decided to name her new puppy after the site.
Victoria Ruffell and George. Photographs: Shepherd Neame
Victoria Ruffell, 37, who has just taken on the Shepherd Neame hotel, welcomed George, the ‘pub pup’, within weeks of joining the team at the historic venue.
Settling into a close-knit community brings Victoria full circle in her career, after she started in the hospitality industry at the age of 20, as assistant manager at the Bull Inn, in Sonning-on-Thames.
Victoria, who completed her management training within two years, ran four pubs for Fuller’s before taking a break during lockdown when she worked in hotels. She was welcomed into the Shepherd Neame fold last month.
Essex-born Victoria said: “I started out in a little village with a friendly feel similar to Cranbrook, and when I first visited the George Hotel, it was like when you buy a house and you know it is for you as soon as you walk in. Cranbrook had the same villagey feel about it, and I knew the hotel was for me. I feel like I fit.
“The George is an incredibly characterful venue with so much potential, but needed someone who was going to put a bit of ‘oomph’ into it. I want to do that — I get quite passionate about my sites! I have been in this trade for 23 years so I have run a wide variety of venues.
“I also wanted to feel loyalty to a brewery again, and I am looking forward to getting to know all of the other Shepherd Neame pubs and hotels throughout Kent and the South East.”
Along with adopting puppy George, who will be a permanent fixture at the hotel, living on site with Victoria, she is enjoying immersing herself in community life, experiencing the recent Cranbrook Apple Fair, and is looking forward to experiencing Christmas in the town.