Gin and share it! Hail ‘Queen’ Debra the first of Saddleworth

Actress Debra Simms is used to playing a variety of parts and has credits working alongside the likes of Peter Kay and Sarah Lancashire.

TOAST’s Gin Queen Debra Simms

But Dobcross based Debra needed no second invitation when asked to take the lead part in a newly created role.

So, say hello to the inaugural Saddleworth Gin Queen.

“It is a tough job but someone has to do it,” laughs Debra, duly crowned by title creator and owner of TOAST coffee house and wine bar, Brian Hockenhull.

“It’s a lovely quirky place and we’ve been supportive since it opened. So, I think Brian reckoned I was an obvious choice.”

Debra was duly crowned at December’s official launch of Saddleworth Gin in TOAST.

“I’m not sure what my ‘reign’ has in store but I am sure Brian has something up his sleeve. He usually does.”

Part of her duties will be to help distribute funds raised from the sale of Brian’s unique gin. For every bottle sold, he will donate £1 to a number of local causes.

“Brian is very big hearted,” adds Debra. “He doesn’t seem to do much to benefit himself; he likes to help other people.

“The idea is that every so often the groups to benefit will change.”

2018 certainly promises to be a busy year for Debra who plans to resume an acting career that started at Oldham Theatre Workshop and continued at Oldham Rep.

Michael Turner (Kevin Le Vell), Sally Ann Matthews and Stuart Wolfenden were contemporaries.

Debra has also occasionally trodden the Coronation Street, worked on Sky TV dramas and appeared in the first two series of gritty drama, Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire.

“I was actually Sarah’s body double for some scenes,” says Debra.

“It’s a fantastic series. Hopefully, there is a third series in the pipeline-not just to be in but also to watch.”

Debra and millions more may get their wish. A third series is in the offing but potentially not until the end of 2018.

By then Debra’s reign as Saddleworth Gin Queen will be almost up. But she’s happy to reprise the duties if asked again!


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