Leyland pub owner to finally reopen popular beer garden after 'hardest year' of her life
A Leyland pub owner who lost her husband during the pandemic has made the brave decision to re-open the beer garden at her late night venue from next Monday.
Annamarie Andrew, the landlady of The Railway, a late-night venue in Leyland, has made the decision to open up her outdoor beer garden from Monday, April 26, two weeks after outdoor dining was first allowed under Government guidance.
But she will close much earlier, by 10 pm, to consider neighbours living close by, despite recent guidance not enforcing a curfew.
Last week, she opened her other venue, Dunkirk Hall, and created a fanfare in memory of her husband Jim, with town crier Peter Tauntonwas called in to mark the occasion.
Annamarie, 46, said: "It was different opening up The Railway again because it is a late-night venue, and before Covid, we would be open until 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights.
"This time, I have had to think about safety because there are a lot of houses nearby and I had to consider the people who live close to the pub. With the weather picking up recently, I decided it was time to reopen again but I am doing so whilst thinking about the people in the area.
"It has been so difficult, with The Railway we normally open until the early hours of the morning, and with the Covid restrictions, we have had the same outgoings but less income because we could only stay open until 10 pm when we were put into tiers, so we just didn't get the same level of trade.
"Even though being able to open again is great, as a business owner, I need to operate my business considering people who live close by. At the weekends with people outside, it would be noisy, and it wouldn't be fair to run a full capacity beer garden at the moment until that late."
Her partner Jim Andrew, who ran the Dunkirk Hall, sadly passed away from heart complications in February this year with wife Annamarie promising him that she would make reopening their shared businesses extra special.
The pub owner hoped that the openings would be ‘upbeat’ and ‘give the community hope’ after a difficult period.
The couple daringly took on the Dunkirk Hall on October 15 of last year, which was then shut just one day after following a change to Government guidance in light of the rising levels of Covid-19.
And in another devastating blow, her husband Jim was hospitalised on the same day for complications from heart disease.
Now, running the two businesses solo, Annamarie said she is remaining positive about the months ahead, as lockdown restrictions continue to ease but said it will be "bittersweet" after losing her husband.
She told the Post: "I didn't want to open The Railway straight away because it is a big venue, and would have been a big risk. That is why we opened Dunkirk Hall first, and I have been amazed at how well it is doing so far with people supporting us.
"The past year has been the hardest of my life, and as helpful as the Government have been, it just hasn't been enough and we have had to eat into our savings to keep afloat and keep pushing on.
"Opening The Railway again next week will be bittersweet because I lost my husband in February, but I am remaining positive. Covid has taught us so many things and how to be versatile and utilise what we have and making things work no matter what life throws at you.
"I have had this pub for three years and wasn't going to let a difficult year let it crumble. Hearing people tell me how much they miss the Railway is amazing and made me realise how much it means to people.
"But at the same time, I am taking the risk and closing much earlier, because it is important to me that I think of the people who live nearby. If anything, this past year has shown us how much we need to work together and be respectful and mindful of others in the community."
The Andrews also took over the running of the Fox and Lion before his passing, where Jim’s sense of humour and character will be missed.
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