Suzanne Norris, licensee at the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.

By Queenscourt Crime Correspondent Andrew Brown

Local publican Suzanne Norris took over the running of one of Southport’s most iconic pubs in April – now she could be heading straight to ‘jail’ to raise money for Queenscourt Hospice.

Suzanne was inspired to join the Jail and Bail fundraiser after someone close to her was cared for at the hospice.

She is among a dozen kind-hearted people taking on the challenge on Friday 7th June where they will be sentenced’ for their ‘crimes’ at the former Southport Magistrates Court (now Access Point); ‘jailed’ at Southport Police Station before being set a series of fun challenges to raise a minimum of £999 ‘bail’ money before they are released.

Every penny raised will go towards supporting the ongoing work of Queenscourt, in a fundraiser organised by the hospice and by Stand Up For Southport.

You can support Suzanne via her JustGiving page here: Suzanne Norris is fundraising for Queenscourt Hospice (justgiving.com)

Suzanne Norris said: “The Mum of one of my best friend’s passed away in Queenscourt Hospice a few years ago.

“Queenscourt has always been a cause very close to my heart, as it is with so many people in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire.

“I have taken part in the Star Trekk 10k night walk a few times to raise money for Queenscourt.

“Taking part in Jail and Bail seemed like something a little different!

“Queenscourt Hospice has always been something local to me. Growing up in Kew, I used to walk past it every day on my way to college, and a good friend of mine, Nicola Halliwell, works there.”

Suzanne Norris, licensee at the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.

Suzanne Norris, licensee at the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.
Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

Suzanne Norris and Gary Rainford enjoy taking on new challenges.

They took over the popular Thatch & Thistle on Norwood Road in Blowick in Southport on 4th April and are enjoying creating a real community pub, with 15 members of staff.

The venue had been closed since February but its return has come with a brand-new food menu and look.

The number of covers has been increased from 140 to 161 while the kitchen has had a £40,000 upgrade to enable the pub to broaden its food offer. The large beer garden has seen new turf laid and a raised seating island created.

Suzanne said: “It is great to be back home again. I was born and brought up in Kew, and so I knew the pub from a young age, little realising I would be running it one day.

“Gary and I are keen to work with Southport Football Club as we’ll be the nearest pub for fans to meet before matches.

Suzanne Norris, licensee at the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.

Suzanne Norris, licensee at the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.
Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

“As well as showing live sports, we want the pub to be somewhere everyone can relax and enjoy themselves, so there are quieter areas for those not interested in live sports. The pub is dog-friendly throughout.

“Running the Thatch & Thistle is a great challenge, we have a cracking team working with us.

“It’s important to us that The Thatch & Thistle is a focal point for the community.

“That’s why taking part in events such as Jail and Bail is so important. We want to be able to give something back.

“I am very excited, but at the same time nervous about taking part!

“My ‘crime’ is ‘assisting in the sale of beer goggles since 1999!’

“Things are going really well at the Thatch & Thistle since we’ve come back, after having been in Chester for the past six years. We were at the Piper Hotel in Chester, and at a pub in Tarporley, The Foresters Arms, before that.

“Gary and I have a four-year-old foster daughter who is just gorgeous!

“She makes me smile every day.”

Suzanne Norris, licensee at the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.

Suzanne Norris, licensee at the Thatch and Thistle pub in Southport, is taking part in the Jail and Bail fundraiser for Queenscourt Hospice.
Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

Suzanne was born in Fazakerley in Liverpool and grew up in Southport.

She went to school at Linaker Primary School, Greenbank High School and KGV Sixth Form College.

She also loves providing holidays for people, through Designer Travel by Suzanne Norris, which she has been running for the past five and a half years.

She said: “My favourite place in the world is Mexico! I used to be a travel rep there for three and a half years, in Playa Del Carmen.

“Mexico is brilliant, it’s my favourite place in the world. It’s a dream destination.”

Less of a dream destination is being jailed in Southport.

Suzanne is hoping that kind-hearted local people can help to ‘bail’ her out and support their local hospice.

Every penny raised through Jail & Bail will go towards Queenscourt Hospice, which provides care and support for residents across West Lancashire, Southport and Formby, 365 days a year.

Queenscourt is staging this brand new fundraiser in collaboration with Stand Up For Southport 10am-3pm on Friday, 7th June 2023 at Access Point, based inside the former Southport Magistrates’ Court building, on Albert Road in Southport.

A handful of other local ‘criminals’ have already had their collars felt – organisers are looking forward to bringing them together in June as a ‘chain gang’.

Several local businesses are supporting the initiative on the day.

Queenscourt Hospice provides access to specialist palliative care either at home (including care homes), hospital or in Queenscourt via the Inpatient Unit or as an Outpatient.

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Do you need advertising, PR or media support? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrownn@gmail.com

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