“End of an Era” as The Mayflower Closes

21st July 2023

Cheltenham’s longest continuous-running restaurant The Mayflower has closed its doors after nearly 41 years of successful trading. The family-run restaurant, which included six family members amongst its team was headed up by well-known local businessperson Chun Kong.

The restaurant which created Chinese home-style cooked dishes, served its last customers on Saturday 15th July and will continue to serve takeaway dishes until it closes completely on Saturday 22nd July.

Chun Kong explained the rationale behind the decision:

“It is never easy to leave behind a business that you have loved so much. We feel privileged to have served the people of Cheltenham and those that have visited us from far and wide, over so many years. It is no exaggeration to say that many of our regular customers have become firm and close friends. We felt now though was the right time to let go and move on. I would, of course, like to pay a special tribute to our fantastic team of staff. Any restaurant is only as good as the people who work in it, and I count myself as being very lucky to have worked with such an excellent team”.

The restaurant has reached an agreement with another local business about taking over the premises and they will be making their own announcement in due course.

“My family moved to Cheltenham in October 1973 from Hong Kong, as our father had a good friend in Cheltenham at the time, and it has been our wonderful home ever since. Sadly, we lost my father in 2022 at the grand old age of 93. He too had a restaurant in London’s Chinatown, which he opened in 1984 and he sold the business just 5 years ago, so it obviously runs deep in our blood” concluded Chun.

As well as being a thriving restaurant, The Mayflower has been a staunch supporter of local charitable and community causes. Chun has been actively involved with the Cancer Charity Maggie’s, The Everyman Theatre, and Gloucestershire Crimestoppers. Chun also sits on the Committee of the Cheltenham Business Luncheon Club and the restaurant has played host to countless charity and business lunches and dinners. Chun’s contribution to the town was recognised in 2018 when he was presented with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Cheltenham BID and in June 2023 when he was presented with the “Outstanding Contribution” award by SoGlos.

Chief Executive of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce, Michael Ratcliffe MBE paid tribute to Chun and The Mayflower. “The Mayflower has been more than just a restaurant, it has been an institution, right in the heart of the town. It will be greatly missed not only by all its customers but also by the entire local business community. The Chamber has been proud to count The Mayflower as one of its members for many years. Chun was also an active participant and was regularly seen at many of the town’s business events. I wish Chun and his wife a long and happy retirement and all the rest of the team the very best for the future”.

Anna Mason of Maggie’s charity commented on the support given to them by The Mayflower.

“Chun’s support of Maggie’s began when he agreed to host a Maggie’s fundraising dinner at The Mayflower almost 10 years ago – where we sold more tickets than available seats, – as the Mayflower has always been a great place to go.  Chun found a solution to our error and the evening was a huge success.  Shortly after that night, Chun joined our Maggie’s Board (subsequently becoming Chairman) and his support has never wavered”.

“The Mayflower has featured many times in Chun’s support of Maggie’s including sponsoring Maggie’s events, gifts of raffle prizes to many Maggie’s supporters, fabulous Quiz Nights, hosting our Board Meetings, as a base for volunteers to help us prepare for our own events, where “Team Maggie’s” took part in the Cummings Country Quiz and so much more”.

Anna concluded. “The success of The Mayflower is due to the continued hard work of Chun and his beautiful family – whenever we visited, nothing was too much trouble, we felt very welcome and the food was always amazing! Thank you to you Chun and your family for all your hard work and support, we really appreciate all you have done for us.  We wish you all the very best with your next venture – and we look forward to continue working with you as Chairman of our Maggie’s Board”.

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