A former care worker and HGV driver gave up their jobs to pursue their dream and transform their local pub.

Lorraine and David Smith have taken over The Lighterman in Charlton Crescent, the only pub on the Thames View estate.

The Barking pub became an Asset of Community Value in 2018 at the request of local people, but closed four months ago.

The couple received a £300,00 investment from Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars to reopen it, bringing an end to concerns for its future.

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David, a former HGV driver, said: “It’s a dream come true.

"We’re very sociable and enjoy meeting people and going to pubs, so having one of our own has always been our ambition.

Barking and Dagenham Post: David and Lorraine Smith quit their day jobs to transform their local pubDavid and Lorraine Smith quit their day jobs to transform their local pub (Image: Star Pubs & Bars)

"The Lighterman looks unloved, but as soon as we saw the plans we knew it was ‘the one’ – it’ll be amazing after all the investment."

Renovation of the pub will introduce food, events and live sports and revamp the garden, turning The Lighterman into what David calls "a local that has it all".

The project will overhaul the outside of the building, with new paintwork, cladding, signage and lighting.

The garden will have a makeover too, including new seating, a covered section for all-weather use and hanging lighting.

David added: "The area is crying out for a good family-friendly local that also provides somewhere to eat out.

"People are desperate for The Lighterman to reopen.

"We can’t wait to open the doors and show residents their new-look local.”

The refurbishment will completely upgrade The Lighterman’s interior, and the design will incorporate timber flooring, leather-covered seating, feature lighting and heritage colours.

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As well as a lounge and dining area, the pub will soon offer darts and a high-spec entertainment system showing BT and Sky Sports.

A kitchen refit will enable the Smiths to bring in traditional pub food such as fish & chips, burgers, sausages and mash and a children's menu.

David and Lorraine say they are keen for The Lighterman to become a “hub of the community that caters for all”.

To that end, the couple plan to start a host of activities to bring residents together, ranging from music nights to children’s parties.

Star Pubs & Bars’ area manager Michael Lee said: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with David and Lorraine to give The Lighterman a new lease of life and broaden its appeal.

"There’ll be many more reasons to visit and something for everyone once the work is done.

"David and Lorraine are passionate about making The Lighterman a brilliant pub that is an asset to the local area. We wish them all the best.”