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Christmas comes early at the Leeds village pub with a big heart

CHRISTMAS CRACKER: Enjoying their early Christmas dinner are Beryl Walker, 77, landlady Dawn Burke, Bill Oldroyd, 72, landlord Mick Burke, and Ronnie Harrison, 81, whilst friends  raise their glasses behind. PIC: James Hardisty

CHRISTMAS CRACKER: Enjoying their early Christmas dinner are Beryl Walker, 77, landlady Dawn Burke, Bill Oldroyd, 72, landlord Mick Burke, and Ronnie Harrison, 81, whilst friends raise their glasses behind. PIC: James Hardisty

  • by Paul Robinson
 

A Leeds pub served up an early festive treat for pensioners as it celebrated its return to business in big-hearted style.

The Buffers, in Scholes, reopened in May this year after being closed for 18 months.

Its new management team came in with the aim of making it a family-friendly destination with a place at the heart of village life.

That approach has paid off, with takings on the up-and-up as customers raise their glasses to the pub’s comeback.

And, as a ‘thank you’ for the support it has enjoyed, the Buffers yesterday laid on a free Christmas lunch for 60 OAPs.

Manager Darren Bennett, running a pub for the first time after more than 20 years in the Royal Air Force, said: “The way the whole community has got behind us has been great.

“Coming in here has been a big change from life in the RAF. I’ve gone from bombs and bullets to pulling pints!

“Being able to put on events like the lunch means it’s a change I’m enjoying.”

Darren is managing the pub on behalf of his sister, Dawn, and her husband, Mick.

Like him, they had no previous experience in the licensed trade prior to taking charge at the Buffers.

What they did have, though, was a clear idea of the role the pub could play in Scholes.

“Dawn and Mick have lived in the village for about 10 years and they knew people around here were crying out for it to reopen,” said Darren.

The last six months at the Buffers provide a stark contrast to the tough times being endured by many landlords.

Around 12 pubs are reportedly closing across the country every week.

Research also indicates that a third of Yorkshire’s pubs and bars are at risk of failure over the next 12 months.

Leeds pubs that have closed recently include the Vine in the city centre and the Fleece, in Farsley.

 

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