Union Flag still flying despite Storm Arwen devastation at Dougie's Tavern

Storm Arwen caused devastation and thousands of pounds worth of damage at a popular South Tyneside pub, but one item was left symbolically intact.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 5:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 5:06 pm

Two marquees outside Dougie’s Tavern, one of which cost £12,000 including fittings and could seat 180 people, were flattened by the storm over the weekend.

The smaller 12x6 metres marquee was used for small private functions. The larger marquee made the news in the summer when it was adorned in flags and became a hub for football fans during Euro 2020.

It had been lovingly decorated as a grotto and contained a 55-inch plasma television showing Polar Express for youngsters. The set was smashed.

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Notably the Union Jack survived the destruction at Dougie's Tavern.

The site is currently unrecognisable, with the marquees flattened and furniture damaged. Christmas backdrops and decorations were destroyed. The damage was not covered by the bar’s insurance.

But remarkably the pub’s Union Jack is still flying. Its pole is bent – but symbolically not broken – and has given staff and volunteers inspiration as they try to restore their beloved tavern.

A gig had to be cancelled, but resolute staff are ensuring that Christmas events will continue as planned.

Owner Norman Scott bought the marquee in March, to provide outside service when Covid restrictions were partially lifted in April.

Owner Norman Scott surveys the damage at Dougie's Tavern, but with the Union Jack still proudly flying. Picture by Stu Norton

Norman said: “The last thing standing is the pole with the British flag still flying. I was in London at the weekend when I got a call. It’s pretty awful. The girls in the pub had done a lot of work; now it’s all gone. But lots of people are coming down to help out.

“We’d spent about £600 on the Christmas backdrop and put a television in there too. It’s smashed to bits. We spent about £1,500 on materials. All gone. It looks as though Godzilla has scrunched it all up and chucked it back down.

“It’s bad, but there’s a sense of perspective too. Much worse things have happened. At the end of the day there’s a lot of people worse off and our thoughts are with the families who have really suffered.

“But somehow the flag still flying has giving us all hope.”

Storm Arwen wreaked havoc at Dougie's Tavern. Picture by Stu Norton

Events have now been moved inside. Also undaunted by the damage is Santa Claus. Breakfast With Santa is going ahead as planned.

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Storm Arwen wreaked havoc at Dougie's Tavern. Picture by Stu Norton

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Norman Scott and friends in June, when the marquee was decked out for Euro 2020.