Officials investigating sickness outbreak among party at Corby village pub

A government health body has been notified after a vomiting and diarrhoea outbreak hit people who had attended a funeral at a historic Corby pub.

It is thought that several members of the large private party that ate at the picturesque Sondes Arms in Rockingham last Thursday have reported illness.

Public Health England have been notified of the outbreak and now Corby Borough Council have sent in inspectors to try to discover if the pub is the source of the illness.

A Corby Council spokesman said: “Following a private event held at the Sondes Arms, we are aware that a number of cases of illness have been reported. Corby Borough Council is now working with Public Health England to carry out an investigation to establish whether this business is the source of the reported illness.

“The Council’s environmental health officers have visited the establishment to carry out an initial inspection of the business and we are awaiting test results from those people affected.

“At the time of writing, no confirmed diagnosis has been established and further investigatory visits are being planned.”

The Sondes reopened in summer 2015 after a long period of closure. It was completely refurbished and taken over by the Haynes family, which also runs the Thornhill Arms in Rushton.

The Food Standards Agency rating gave the pub a top score of ‘five’ for hygiene when inspectors visited last year. However, they have recently re-visited the pub and will publish a new score shortly.

A Public Health England spokesman said: “PHE East Midlands can confirm we have been notified of an outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting in Northamptonshire and local environmental health officials are investigating.”

The pub remains open for service today.

A Sondes Arms spokesman was keen to stress that there has been no cause found and said that staff are working with Corby Council to resolve the situation. She stressed that the outbreak could have been caused a bug or virus that was passed between members of the funeral party.

She said that they had made every effort to contact affected members of the funeral party to urge them to go to their doctor to give a sample.

She added that the pub was happy to co-operate in any way it could with the investigation.

Originally a coaching Inn, it is thought the building became a pub in 1677. It was said to be a frequent destination for Charles Dickens wrote a number of poems and parts of his novel Bleak House at the pub. Hollywood star Clark Gable also chose the Sondes Arms as his local to challenge regulars games of darts whilst stationed at Polebrook in 1943 for his military service.

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