“WE WILL remain defiant.”

That is the message from a Hampshire pub which has flooded eight times in the last six weeks – at a cost of more than £70,000.

But rather than drown their sorrows, staff at the White Swan in Mansbridge remain positive and are working harder than ever to ensure doors are open today – one week after the latest flood proved to be the worst the pub has suffered for several years.

The latest deluge at the pub saw the water reach so high that plug sockets were left underwater, causing considerable damage to the electrics, and travel up the ramp into the restaurant area, which had so far this year remained unscathed. Although all the water has drained out of the building now, floors remain covered in silt and chairs and tables are stacked high to avoid damage, while the car park remains under several feet of water.

Being next to a river, staff are used to preparing for potential flooding and the clear-up operation that follows. Since the start of the year the pub has flooded eight times, but the previous seven were not as severe as this latest torrent.

However, the heavy rain last Friday evening – just a year after a £150,000 refurbishment – saw staff wake up to the worst flooding they had seen since 2007.

The pub has been closed ever since as the rain continues to fall – costing the pub £25,000 in lost sales and around £4,000 in cleaning. In total it has meant £60,000 in lost sales this year, plus £14,000 for cleaning.

Manager Steve Hammond, said: “It is the biggest nightmare ever, but will remain defiant and keep cleaning as best we can so that we can hopefully open today.”

Orchid Pubs, which owns the pub, has already earmarked £40,000 of investment to boost flood defences, due to start next month.

Chris Jones, area manager, added: “Steve and his team have been doing a terrific job in turning this place around pretty quickly when it floods, cleaning up and decontaminating it within 24 hours, but this week they were just faced with a deluge of water and it has had lasting effects.

“We have to take an educat e d gamble to start the clear-up now and try to open today when we know it could all flood again.”