A couple of popular landlords are preparing for their Swan song at an iconic Saddleworth pub.
Michael Powis and Tim Newbold are calling time after five years as hosts at The Swan, Dobcross.
Brewers Marstons were keen for the pair to remain at the award winning hostelry in the Square.
But the duo, who rescued The Swan award from the brink of closure, are confident the famous pub will remain in good hands while locals certainly haven’t seen the last of them.
“We are not disappearing,” laughed Tim, confirming negotiations between the Brewery and their successor are well advanced.
“We will still have some input into the entertainment programme. And people can rest assured, there is a good candidate lined up to take over with Saddleworth links.”
However, Michael and Tim will be pulling their last pints sooner than expected. Subject to final negotiations they will be calling time as early as February 26 and at the latest March 19.
“Despite being offered excellent terms to stay we have decided now is the time hand over the reins,” they said.
“We’ve had a fantastic five years and enjoyed taking The Swan from strength to strength and creating an award-winning theatre and performance space ‘Upstairs at The Swan’.
“Our intention when moving in to our village pub was to see if we could ensure the pub’s future as a viable business at the heart of the community.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved and we are very happy to be handing over the reins at this exciting point in the pub’s long history.
“We are confident that in years to come The Swan will continue to be a vital part of Dobcross village life.
“We would like to thank all of our customers for their custom and support over the last five years.
“Now we look forward to coming into the Swan in the future – from the other side of the bar!”
Local promoter and compere, Peter Young, has led the tributes to Michael and Tim, planning to pull their final pints in early Spring.
“What a fantastic job they made of turning The Swan in to what must be one of the best pubs in the country,” Peter told the Independent.
“It is just how a village pub should be: clean, welcoming, roaring fires in winter and frequented by a mix of locals, visitors and no shortage of ‘characters’.”
Michael and Tim’s crowning glory was transforming an upstairs function room into a 75-seat playhouse for live music, comedy and acclaimed theatre productions.
Later this month, singer Mari Wilson will play two sold out shows followed by another full house on February 22 for English Comedian of the Year, Brennan Reece.
“Michael and Tim are wonderfully enthusiastic about the shows they put on and have given locals the chance to see regular productions of amazingly high standards,” agreed Peter.
“I have been lucky enough to work with them on several events, raising thousands of pounds for village causes.
“As a regular patron I’m sure I speak for all other regulars in saying a big thank you and wish them all the best for the future.
“They will be a hard act to follow and we must hope the new landlords, whoever they may be, are able to carry on the good work.”
Built in 1765, the pub, which has served as a magistrate’s court, was taken over by Michael and Tim in March 2012.
Twelve months later it was named National Best Newcomer in the Marston’s Pub of the Year Awards before taking the top accolade-Grand Final winner.
In 2014, The Swan was awarded the ‘Best Blooming Pub’ prize by Saddleworth Parish Council, Saddleworth in Bloom and were also awarded the ‘Best Blooming Business’ in the Oldham Council Bloom and Grow Competition.
And for five consecutive years The Swan has scooped ‘Best Public House’ prize in the annual Saddleworth Illuminations competition.