Rod, who started out at our tenanted pub Norway Inn on £19.50 a week as part of a Youth Opportunity training scheme back in 1978, became synonymous with the historic coaching house during his long years as host and manager, not taking a single day’s sick leave for over 35 years.
Apart from a short stint over at the Alverton Hotel in Truro, Rod has spent his entire working career since the age of 16 at the Norway Inn, offering a warm welcome to everyone who walks through the door as well as raising more than £200,000 across the years for various charities through his acclaimed coffee mornings and fundraising days.
Looking back over the years, Rod attributes his longevity at the Norway to his Cornish roots and the character of the pub itself, saying, “I’ve been asked to work at the Ritz, on board the QE2, you name it but my family have lived in Cornwall for over 900 years and I’m Cornish through and through, so I couldn’t really see myself working anywhere else. Besides, there’s such an amazing community of people who come to the Norway, some of whom have been coming since I started back in 1978. This is more than just a job for me, I love making people feel welcome and they keep coming back, it’s more like being part of a huge family!”
Landlords have come and gone at the Norway over the years, but Rodney’s popularity with guests has always been one of the main attractions at the pub, as testified by those who welcomed Rodney back from the Alverton in 2014.
Regular Norway diner Ann Collins of Penryn commented “We love Rod. We’ve been coming here every Sunday for 36 years and Rodney has kept the place going through all those years. Rodney IS the Norway!”
Wendy Unwin of Constantine added, “We’ve known Rod since around 1995 at the Norway and he has become a fantastic friend and advisor to us.”
Juliet Johns of Carnon Downs had this to say of Rod, “The Norway was the first pub I came to when I was still underage. My dad gave me hell when he found out, but I always think of this as Rodney’s place. He’s a wonderful man and always makes us feel welcome and at home.”
And that welcome, according to Rodney, is the secret of his phenomenal success at the Norway, “Many of the people I know now are far more than just customers at the pub, but every single person who walks through our door gets the same personal attention and the one thing that determines your entire experience at any venue is the welcome that you get when you arrive.”
PHOTO: (L -R) Rod Gill and Lee Whittington - Landlord at the Norway - preparing a special welcome.