Xhemal Zeqiri and girlfriend Valentina Filip did all the work themselvesCredit: www.thisischriswhite.com

Xhemal Zeqiri and girlfriend Valentina Filip did all the work themselves Credit: www.thisischriswhite.com

Xhemal Zeqiri and his girlfriend Valentina Filip completely transformed The Jolly Anglers in Reading (England), during lockdown – doing all the work themselves.

Xhemal, 44, who fled the Kosovan war 22 years ago, said: “This was an old man’s pub before, it was very dark, and people were scared to go in.

“The so-called beer garden was basically just a couple of benches in a barren yard. So I decided to create something no one’s seen in a pub before.

“It’s a bit special. I’m a qualified mechanic and engineer by trade. I could see the potential.

“Since the lockdown ended, we’ve been packed out. People love it.”

Valentina, 32, who used to be a TV presenter and model in her native Romania, said: “This place was horrible before, but now we’re very busy.

“We have a lot of regular customers and more keep coming!”

The couple got most of the furniture second-hand for a knock-down price during the lockdown.

They paid £100 for the pool, around £800 for the decking and they installed it all themselves.

The TV and hot tub were the most expensive things, costing almost £4,000.

And despite having a one-year-old son, Amir, the hard-working pair also transformed the upstairs of the pub into a bed and breakfast with four rooms.

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