AN AWARD-WINNING Saddleworth pub has produced a poignant floral tribute to the victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack atrocity.
Each of the 22 people killed by suicide bomber Salman Abedi on May 22 is remembered with a named planter at the rear of the Royal George on Manchester Road, Greenfield.
The touching gesture by landlord Jason Worthington and wife, Nicky, has received an outstanding response.
When the Independent first highlighted the pub’s tribute on our Facebook page, it reached nearly 25,000 people.
It’s since contributed to the Royal George winning JW Lees’ Regional Pub of the Year as well as joint first place with The White Lion in Delph for Saddleworth in Bloom.
And the hard-working couple continue to build a reputation for the community orientated pub as one of the busiest and most innovative in the area.
“The memorial garden wasn’t done as a tool to try and win any competitions,” said Jason. “We were touched, like everyone else, by the tragedy of what happened at the Arena.
“Many Saddleworth people travel from Greenfield station into Victoria, we know people caught up in what happened and you realise it might easily have been you there that night.”
The garden flowers and hundreds of other blooms and plants are certainly eye catching for drinkers and diners visiting the Royal George.
But as Jason explains there’s more on the menu than beer and food: “It’s a nice success story but there are a lot of different ingredients making it into a great pub.
“This is our first venture into the industry and we have come at it with a different view and different approach.
“We are not just a building that sells beer. We have 250 kids doing baby ballet, we’ve got Weight Watchers groups, fitness classes, a bridge club, Tuesday night quiz, live music, a comedy club and an open mic night where the local talent is phenomenal.
“And there is a function room booked solid this year and into next.
“We have refurbished the pub, refurbished the function room, built a brand new beer garden and there’s a new children’s playground due to open soon subject to the weather.
“Two and a half years ago it was ready to be shut down and boarded up.
“Last year we were voted ‘best newcomer’. Now we are regional pub of the year.
“We are heading in the right direction. We’ve invested tens of thousands of pounds and hours of labour.
“It’s hard work but we employ 45 people, many of them youngsters, and we have built a full community pub again.
“Lots of people moan about pubs shutting down but it is all about applied effort and enthusiasm. If you do nothing you will get nothing.”