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News


Former RAF Man and Next Door Neighbour Put Own Money into £136k-Plus Village Pub Facelift


A former Royal Air Force radar technician who lived next door to a NewRiver pub in a Lancashire village has become its new publican.


Jon Howard, who also has years of experience working in pubs, bars and restaurants here and abroad, has put his own money into a major refurbishment of The Bridge Inn, Adlington, near Chorley, where he was a regular for many years, having lived next door to the canal-side local for more than a decade.


He ran the Park Road pub on a temporary basis for 12 months, but has just signed a three-year agreement with NewRiver, the specialist leisure and retail property company , which owns more than 600 community pubs across England, Scotland and Wales.


Jon, who served in the RAF for nine years, runs the pub with his partner Dianne Dickinson. He has invested ‘a significant sum’ of his own money in the venture, while NewRiver has pumped £136,000 into the facelift.


He said: “I’ve lots of experience working in the hospitality sector, including running my own contract catering company,


and have always wanted my own pub. So when the opportunity arose to take on the pub I’d lived next door to and been a regular at for the past 13 years it seemed ideal.”


Jon approached NewRiver and had his business plan accepted.


He added: “Dianne and I have since put a lot of time, money and effort into rebuilding the business here. People said they didn’t visit the pub because it looked tired and quiet, but now we’re getting some very positive comments, and there’s quite a local buzz about the place.


“The pub’s much brighter now, and it looks like weekends are going to be really busy for us. We’ve also been praised for the quality of the beer we serve.” Indeed, Jon is working towards the industry standard Cask Marque accreditation for serving quality ales and high standards of cellar management.


A well-established community hub, The Bridge Inn has benefited from repairs and redecoration, new exterior lighting and signage, a new bar, and new carpets throughout.


With help from their eight staff, Jon and Dianne hope to attract new customers to


40 OCTOBER 2018 WWW.VENUE-INSIGHT.COM


the pub with a wider range of beers – they now have three real ales on tap – and the introduction of coffee, prosecco and gin. There are also future plans to offer bar snacks.


The pub, which is on the bank of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, has an attractive outdoor beer garden, featuring a barbecue and pizza oven, which the couple hope will attract narrowboat users and holidaymakers; and there are plans to install a large-screen TV in the pub’s pool room to show live sports.


A resident DJ and live bands provide Saturday night entertainment, there is a popular Thursday night quiz, and the pub is home to and sponsors local football club The Bridge Celtic, and a pool team.


David Shipton, corporate development and strategy director for NewRiver’s pub portfolio, said: “Jon and Dianne have done an absolutely superb job of turning this pub around.


NewRiver will always give its full support to people like them, who show real commitment not just to the pub, but to the local community. The Bridge Inn, with everything going on there now, looks like it has a secure future ahead of it as a genuine community hub.”


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