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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 21 November 2014

The old Vic gets a new lease of life following £150,000 refurbishment

POPULAR Southport pub, the Victoria, is hosting a grand reopening, 28 November 2014, following a £150,000 refurbishment package.  The investment; funded jointly by leading Lancashire brewer, Daniel Thwaites, and pub landlords, Steve and Sue Kirkbride; will re-launch the historic local, which has established itself as a haven for Southport residents and visitors to the area.  Steve and Sue have been landlords at The Victoria for over 6 years. Located opposite the popular Southport Pier, the pub is one of the busiest in the town and regularly hosts gatherings and headline music events, such as Southport's Superstar, taking place in 2015. Construction work started on 27 October 2014 and is due to be completed mid-November, in time for the official opening on 28 November 2014. No strangers to the pub trade, Steve has been a landlord for over 22 years, following in the footsteps of his parents, after a brief stint as a long-distance lorry driver.  Commenting on refurbishments at The Victoria, Steve said:- "We can't wait for the refurbishments to be completed. Everyone's really excited to see what changes we're making. They will be substantial, but in keeping with the Victorian building; nothing ultra-modern."

As part of the extensive refurbishments, The Victoria large central bar is being relocated to open up the space and make room extra seating and a performance area for live music. The pub's menu and wine list is also set for a transformation, with the addition of a new cocktail menu. The new look food menu will feature a host of classic pub favourites, including lamb shanks, spaghetti bolognaise and fresh, hand cut chips.  Steve commented:- "Our vision for The Victoria has always been to create a warm, friendly, family run pub with real atmosphere. We're flying the flag for tradition and bringing old-school independent pubs back to British towns."

Catering for ale lovers, the full range of Thwaites award-winning hand-pulled cask ales including Wainwright golden ale, Nutty Black, Lancaster Bomber and Thwaites Original will be on the bar. They will be joined by 'The Ale that I Breathe' – an ale brewed especially in honour of the opening and which takes its inspiration from the 60s hit by popular rock band, The Hollies. Steve added:- "The beer's name is a nod to our famous fans, The Hollies. They come whenever they play in Southport and chat with the locals. They're playing a gig the weekend of our reopening, so we'll be showing them the results of the revamp and letting them their sample The Ale that I Breathe."

Other notable guests in showing their support at the pub's reopening of the Southport Lifeboat Crew; an organisation which landlords Steve and Sue have raised money for, for 12 years. Live music will be provided by local musicians 'BJ Franklin & Jackie' and 'Thwaites' famous shire horses; Bomber and Wainwright; will be making an appearance.

Andrew Buchanan commented:- "The Victoria is a fantastic pub, with a rich history and loyal customer base. The pub had a fantastic boost when Steve and Sue took on the licence 6 years ago and is set for a further revitalisation with this investment package. We're fully supportive of all our pub tenants and I have no doubt that Steve and Sue's commitment and dedication will ensure The Victoria is the pride of Southport."

Portrait paints hope for children

MAREK Jarotta, a Slovakian Artist featured in the famous Saatchi gallery, is selling a one-off portrait in The Children's Society's charity shop on Ormskirk high street. Marek's paintings often look like film stills due to a rich use of colour and the portrait being sold in the Ormskirk shop is a 80x100cm oil painting of the artist's mother. The portrait was being delivered to the BP Portrait Awards but became lost. Through a partnership with ParcelForce, whereby undelivered items are donated to the shop after a certain amount of time, the portrait found its way here. It is now on sale for £1,500 with proceeds going towards the charity's work with some of the most disadvantaged children, including those living in poverty.  Marek said:- "I'm really proud that my portrait will help children desperately in need of support and I hope it goes to a loving home." Heather Jones, Ormskirk shop manager, said:- "We were quite surprised to have such an unusual item in the shop, but we are really excited to have some keen art lovers visit the shop." To find out more about the portrait please call the Ormskirk shop on:- 01695 579692.

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