'A work of art' - Stunning new sign unveiled at popular pub

A new hanging sign has been unveiled at The Cock in Dereham

A new hanging sign has been unveiled at The Cock in Dereham - Credit: Colin Collis

A stunning new sign has been unveiled at a town centre pub. 

The Cock, in Dereham, revealed its traditional hanging sign on Friday, January 28.

Artist Doreen Aitken unveils the new hanging sign at The Cock in Dereham

Artist Doreen Aitken unveils the new hanging sign at The Cock in Dereham - Credit: Colin Collis

Dozens of loyal punters gathered in Norwich Street for the ceremony, led by landlord Steve Garner and landlady Jane Howard.

Having taken over the watering hole in January 2020, the couple felt it lacked an important feature and enlisted the help of local artist, Doreen Aitken. 

"A hanging sign has been a bit of an omission here," said Mr Garner.

"Without a sign you couldn't actually tell there was a pub here. If you look up and down Norwich Street, you'd look straight past the pub.

Steve Garner and Jane Howard at The Cock, in Dereham, after its new sign was unveiled

Steve Garner and Jane Howard at The Cock, in Dereham, after its new sign was unveiled - Credit: Colin Collis

"I'm absolutely ecstatic with the sign. I couldn't believe it when I saw it.

"Doreen sent me pictures throughout its development, but to see it in its full 3D glory - and the colours are so vibrant - it is a work of art."

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Having been restored as a pub just two months before the coronavirus pandemic began, The Cock has endured a difficult couple of years. 

But, in between lockdowns, the freehouse has built up a faithful following of regulars to become a firm favourite once again. 

One of them was Mrs Aitken, who found herself struck by boredom when the country was shut down. 

From memory, she painted a picture of the endearing angry cockerel which sits next to the pub's fireplace, and later presented it to Mr Garner and Ms Howard.

So impressed were the pair that they asked Mrs Aitken, who lives in Gressenhall, to replicate her efforts with the hanging sign. 

"This is a favourite pub of mine," said the 68-year-old. "I love it because the landlords run it really well as a traditional pub and it just has the right atmosphere.

Steve Garner and Jane Howard with artist Doreen Aitken and Breckland councillor Paul Claussen

Steve Garner and Jane Howard with artist Doreen Aitken and Breckland councillor Paul Claussen - Credit: Colin Collis

"When lockdown happened, I couldn't be here. I was missing it so much that I was in the studio and thought 'I am going to paint a cockerel'. 

"I'm really happy with it. People are enjoying it and, above all, I like people to enjoy my work."

The sign was made possible by the a £3,000 grant from Breckland Council's shop front improvement scheme, aimed at improving the appearance of the high street.