Festival tribute to Norwich pub landlord who killed himself days before first Covid lockdown

  • Watch a full report from ITV News Anglia's Rob Setchell.

The Rose Inn still shines with the passions of its former landlord.

The beers reflect his taste, the speakers play his favourite bands, the decor is dominated by his beloved Norwich City.

It has been more than two years since Carl Newell stood behind the bar but the memory of a "loving, outgoing, passionate" man is preserved - and often celebrated by regulars.

In March 2020, as the Covid pandemic took hold, lockdown loomed and fear gripped communities, Carl took his own life. He was 40.

"We'd had the prime minister say on the Monday 'stay away from pubs' but they hadn't closed us down," said landlady Dawn Hopkins, Carl's partner of six years.

"It made us all very anxious. We didn't know what was going to happen but I think if you're already vulnerable that kind of pressure is obviously too much.

"When we reopened after the first lockdown, to stand there without him was very difficult."

Carl Newell and Dawn Hopkins had run The Rose Inn together. Credit: Dawn Hopkins

Dawn's heartbreak was compounded by Covid. The lockdown often left her grieving alone and, with the pub shut, fears for the future of her business remained.

But she had vital support from friends and family - one customer even offered her money - as well as from the mental health charity Mind.

Now, Dawn has chosen Norfolk and Waveney Mind as the charity for the 10th City of Ale Festival - a month-long celebration of Norwich's pubs.

With the help of the local S&P and Wildcraft breweries, a special beer has been produced for the occasion - a pale, hoppy ale Carl would have loved.

Dawn Hopkins behind the bar at The Rose. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"He was a very loving, outgoing, passionate person," said Dawn.

"He is still here as far as I'm concerned. He's everywhere I look - what the beers are, how the pub is styled, the people who come in were the people who came in when he was here.

"He's still very much part of this and part of my life.

"There's a saying that you don't know how strong you are until you have no other choice. I've just had to keep going."

Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help:

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org

  • Papyrus offers support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am and midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to pat@papyrus-uk.org

  • Mind also offers mental health support between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can call them on 0300 123 3393 or text them on 86463. There is also lots of information available on their website.

  • Hector's House is a suicide and crisis prevention and help resource, with links to specialist helplines.