A landmark Longridge pub is to re-open its doors . . . as a DIY boozer.
The Old Oak, which has been closed for the past year, will be back in business as a community venture next week bearing the sign “under old management.”
Well-known publican Alex Coward has taken the brave decision to re-launch the Oak after admitting he was “press ganged” into it by locals.
“The clamour locally just became so intense that I eventually gave in,” said Alex, who also runs two other pubs in town - the Alston Arms and the Dog Inn - together with the Black Bull in Gisburn.
“People locally wanted it re-opened, but no-one else seemed willing to take it on. So I said I would do it if everyone would get behind it and lend a hand.
"The locals have been absolutely brilliant and lots of people are giving their services free to help us get the place ready.”
Alex has even persuaded former Old Oak landlord Nigel Maloney to return to run the pub. He will be open for business next Thursday.
“Nigel is a legend round here and if anyone can make it work, he can,” said Alex. When he was the landlord he even got the pub mentioned on the Parkinson Show on TV after Peter Kay had driven past one day and seen Nigel’s banner outside advertising ‘posh bogs.’
"We’ve got painters, decorators and joiners involved and not one of them is charging a penny. That’s how much this pub means to the community in Longridge and how much they have missed it.”
The new Old Oak will have a limited food offer initially. It also aims to be the focal point for Preston North End fans in the area, with special events like ex-player appearances planned for matchdays.
Alex added: “It is the first pub people see coming into Longridge from Preston. To see a derelict building was doing the place no favours at all. I was constantly being asked if I would take it on, but I kept saying it wasn’t for me. But the locals were very persistent and they just wore me down.
“It doesn’t need a massive amount of work because it isn’t that bad inside. It just needs smartening up.
“I’m confident that with Nigel back running it, it should do decent business.
"It’s never going to make me a millionaire, but if the community are as good as their word and support it then we can make a good go of it.”