Pendleton's The Swan With Two Necks pub commended by CAMRA
PUBLISHED: 22:46 08 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:22 20 February 2013
A Pendleton pub has been named one of the finest in the country, as Paul Mackenzie reports<br/>Photography by Kirsty Thompson
Whether its a quiet drink with a loved one or a big night out with friends, a time to relax after work or the end of a long walk, pubs play an important role in the life of the nation. But our pubs are under threat 16 close every week around Britain, taking with them jobs, livelihoods and a vital part of the glue which holds communities together.
A campaign has been launched this month by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, to support pubs which are at the heart of their communities. Community Pubs Month aims to help pubs promote their activities and events and bring people together.
And if publicans need further guidance on what makes a successful pub, they should pay a visit to The Swan With Two Necks at Pendleton.
Steve and Christine Dilworth have been behind the bar here for 25 years and their dedication to the pub and to the community they serve was honoured this year when it was named as a finalist in the national pub of the year award.
Getting to the last four was amazing, said Christine. We have always tried to be a community pub we have a church and a village hall and we believe the village pub is another key part of the community.
Its a way of life for us, not just a job. We have brought up our children here, we have made so many friends here, we have celebrated 25 years of marriage here. We have had wedding parties here, funerals, carol services, charity events you name it.
The pub is an extension of our home and we treat the people who come here as if they are coming in to our home.
These pubs are dying out. They are being overrun by characterless places where the staff dont know your name and you dont get a hello or a goodbye.
And Christine, who also ran the village post office from the pub for 13 years, added: The pub is the focal point of the village and thats the way we have always wanted it to be. We are very lucky in that the village has retained its charm and its character and that the people who come in are very nice.
The Swan With Two Necks reached the final four of the CAMRA competition after a rigorous judging process but was beaten to the top prize by the Bridge End Inn near Wrexham. Ray Jackson, CAMRAs regional director in the West Pennines said: In my opinion The Swan With Two Necks would have been a worthy winner. Its a nice, homely, welcoming pub with good beers, a great atmosphere, excellent service and great people. Its a pub Im always happy to come to.
Trevor Hobday is one of the pubs regulars and he added: This is a very small village but the pub brings people in from further afield. If you walk in off the street and youve never been here before, people will talk to you, theres always a friendly welcome.
The emphasis has always been on being a village pub, not creating something artificial, like the big pub companies tend to do. Pubs are closing down all the time but Christine and Steve have proved that with the right people and the right products, you can buck the trend.
CAMRAs judging process considers all aspects of each venue but chief among the judges concerns is the quality of beer, cider and perry on offer and at The Swan With Two Necks that is Steves department. People put their life and soul into making the best beer they can, its only fair that it should be treated with respect once they deliver it to a pub, he said.
I am passionate about caring for the beer in the best way I can and we both take enormous pride in what we do. Its not an easy life but we love what we do and the people we get to spend our time with. A lot of pubs have lost their community spirit but we are like one big family.
To find out more about The Swan With Two Necks visit www.swanwithtwonecks.co.uk and for more information about Community Pubs Month go to www. communitypubsmonth.org.uk.
The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here