A FARMER who drank in the same pub almost every day for 50 years has called last orders on himself ahead of moving into a care home.

Ian Macaulay enjoyed drinking pints at a throwback price of 20 pence at the Alma, in School Lane, Copford, to celebrate his farewell trip to the boozer on Tuesday.

He will now be moving into Abberton Manor nursing home, in Layer Road, Colchester, following 50 years of drinking at the pub.

Born in 1936, Mr Macaulay took over the family farm at Beckingham Hall, in Hardy’s Green, Birch, in 1969 and worked the land with his sons Donald and Stuart for the next four decades.

In 1994 he moved to the very heart of the village overlooking Copford Green, just a few hundred yards from the pub, with his wife Mary, until she died during lockdown last year.

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Donald, Stuart and his third son Neil all raised a glass to their dad on Tuesday.

They said: “Our father has been a part of this community all of our lives, everyone will know a lot of his downtime was spent in the Alma with his friends and family.

“So, we thought it would be fitting to have an old-fashioned celebration at the pub so he could see lots of familiar faces over a pint or two.

“The past couple of years have been tough for everyone, but for father it has been especially hard as we lost our mother during the first lockdown and he also lost his long-time drinking partner John King in 2019.

“He has struggled to find his ‘new normal’ since then.

“Abberton is only a couple of miles away from the pub so no doubt he will ensure we get him to the Alma for a pint every so often.”

To mark the occasion, IPA was being sold at 1969 prices of 20 pence a pint, with punters asked to instead make a donation to Hope for Grace.

Landlord of the Alma, David Brady, added: “It was a wonderful evening with lots of Ian’s friends coming to wave him off. Ian is a true Alma legend and has been drinking in this pub longer than I have been alive.

“During that time he must have put so much money over the bar it would have been a lot cheaper for him to have bought the pub on day one.”

The night also acted as a poignant fundraiser for Grace Beverton, who was born with an extremely rare gene mutation.

Grace was born in August 2017 and, at only five months old, started having unexplained seizures.

She was rushed to Colchester Hospital before longer stays in hospital followed and finally came a diagnosis of a gene mutation called RHOTBTB2.

Grace is only the third person to be diagnosed in the UK with the extremely rare condition, and it is believed only 30 children suffer with this mutation in the world.

Donations will help provide Grace with much needed physiotherapy and special equipment to help her to work towards living as normal a life as possible.

You can donate to her via www.treeofhope.org.uk/grace-beverton.