The owners of the Wheatsheaf Pub in Ewell said they are "absolutely gutted" after announcing they are putting the pub up for sale.

'Big Boss Kim' and Landlord Darren said the sale comes after the economic shockwaves of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic made their position as a business in the leafy Surrey suburb untenable.

In a heartfelt message announcing the news, the pair described their pleasure of establishing themselves as members of the community at the Wheatsheaf, and their heartbreak at deciding to leave it all behind.

"We are totally gutted to have made this decision and would like to thank our many loyal patrons for their custom over the years," Darren said.

"It has been a privilege to be part of this community and we hope that someone will take ownership of the pub and love it as much as we have," he added, describing how Kim had been forced to shield against the dangers of coronavirus, making reopening the pub in the current climate virtually impossible.

"We will really miss our cosy little pub however with the current social distancing restrictions and the simple fact that Kim must continue to shield, it simply isn't viable to keep the business afloat.

"It is sad and frustrating to end this way but having met with our pub company and discussed the options available to both parties, we feel that we've made the right decision."

With a current rating of 4.5 / 5 stars on Tripadvisor, the pub will surely be missed by its patrons from Ewell and beyond.

Under the pair's ownership, the establishment has been recognised as the Best Business for Commitment to the Community at the Epsom and Ewell Business Awards, a Community Hero Award for Ei Publican Partnerships, quarter finalists at the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) Licensee of The Year Award and, more recently, ascribed in British Parliamentary records for their efforts during lockdown.

"It's not something we want to do and when we closed the doors at the start of the pandemic, we never envisaged not reopening them," Kim said on announcing the closure.

"We are still looking at every avenue we possibly can but right now our first and foremost wish is for the Wheaty to be back open and trading successfully.

"We, and the pub company, will do everything we can behind the scenes to assist the new owners.

"We're in that unusual position that we're selling a business that we would have dearly loved to keep. Our intentions prior to Coronavirus was to extend our lease for a final five year term but sadly this is no longer practicable," she added.

The pair, who also thanked "all the staff that have worked for us over the last ten years" now hope to sell the pub.

They pointed out that the investment could be beneficial for a number of reasons including details of the current lease.

"The lease on offer is available until the end of next March with a protected agreement in place to extend for a further five years," the pair said.