Sandwich gears up for The 149th Open

  • Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sarah Saunders

She spoke to Sandwich residents Julian and Loretta Stowell, Simon Greaves from letting agent Colebrook Sturrock, Sarah Moon from the Red Cow pub, Southeastern rail and Tim Checketts from Royal St George's

Delayed a year by Covid, The 149th Golf Open starts at Royal St Georges in Sandwich on Sunday.

As tens of thousands of people prepare to descend on Royal St George's to watch the Golf Open, Some local residents are preparing to move out.

Julian and Loretta Stowell are one of many local families who rent out their homes to the media, spectators and golfers.

  • Julian and Loretta Stowell

Julian says: "The rent is useful and helps to maintain the house".

Loretta adds:"About a year in advance I start doing a life laundry, have we used this, if not do we dump it". The couple would usually decamp to a tent at this time of year however this time around they've decided to go on holiday.

The Open is welcomed by pubs like the Red Cow in Sandwich which after a tough year can throw open their doors to thirsty visitors.

  • Sarah Moon, Publican

Sarah Moon says: "I'm hoping it has longevity of bringing people back because they may not have been to visit these hidden gems".

But there are businesses, that will actually close during the open, when they say many local shoppers avoid the town.

Rosemary Higgins of Rose and Tony's Haberdashery says: "I will put my feet up hopefully have a few tequilas because we are going to close the shop, because for us we will be really quiet during the open".

Signs at the train station get a fresh lick of paint. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Around a third of the tournament visitors are expected to arrive by rail and there have been some major changes to prepare for the influx of visitors.

The station platform has been extended and a footbridge has been built specifically for the open.

Passengers travelling to Sandwich from London next week are being advised to pre-book.  

Students at Sir Roger Manwood's School will work from home, to prevent the students being distracted. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Meanwhile Sir Roger Manwood's School right next to the golf course, students will be hard at work next week, but not at school.

To avoid the disruption that thousands of visitors will make, they will be using all the online teaching resources developed during Covid to work from home, for the last days of term.

And who know maybe some of them will be able to catch some of the action.

Tim Checketts, Royal St George's

Tim Checketts of Royal St George's, says: "For us for Sandwich for Kent, its a tremendous honour to host the world of golf"

"We hope it will be a showcase for the town and everyone who put such effort into making the event a success".

The event is teeing off next Thursday.