Save our Swan SOS is answered by local trio

A VILLAGE pub saved from closure has been promised a bright future by its three-man rescue team.

And the new landlord of The Swan in Dobcross is a familiar face to Saddleworth drinkers and diners.

Alex Smith, who previously worked at The White Lion in Delph, has replaced Huw Kendray behind the bar in a hostelry that traces its history back to 1765.

He’s supported in the project by business partners Mike Leighton and Mark Paterson.

The trio, who live in Diggle, Uppermill and Delph respectively, re-opened the Marstons-owned pub less than two weeks after Huw’s departure in June.

“No one in Saddleworth wanted it shut for any longer than it needed so we had to move quickly,” said Mark.

“This pub is a landmark in Saddleworth and it is the hub of the village.

“We are the custodians of it. All we are doing is trying to get it back to its former glories.

“Our intention is to sign a five-year tenancy on the business so we are in it for the long haul.

“We want it filled with people again, serving decent beers, nice food, with quality service in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

“We want to get the villagers back on track with the pub and get people buying into us.”

Mike believes the new tenants have the right skills mix to make a success of their new venture.

“Alex is the landlord, he is the face of The Swan and we are here to support him,” he explained.

“Mike has a successful business and employs about 75 people in the construction sector.

“My background is marketing and PR and getting bums on seats.

“I also assist with running the family alarm business which has been going for 28 years.

“I am not new to business but I am to pubs. Restaurants and bars were on my road map down the line. I just didn’t expect it quite so soon.”

Alex, 32, said: “I want The Swan to return as an integral part of the Saddleworth community.

“We’ve been very touched by the warm-hearted response and good wishes from villagers and the community. It’s very gratifying.”

Former co-landlords Tim Newbold and Michael Powis had lifted The Swan to new heights with their popular theatre and performance space ‘Upstairs at the Swan’.

They left in January 2017 to establish Saddleworth Live at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph.

“The function room is an asset that should be used and we utilise it going forward,” added Mark.

“I have been in Saddleworth 10 years in August and I remember how successful it was when Tim and Michael had it.

“We believe The Swan is a good fit for the three of us but we don’t want to rush into anything because we want everything to be right.

“We were over the moon when our business plan was accepted because there was another interested party.

“But we haven’t celebrated too much because this is where the hard work starts.”

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