“Jim will hear us in heaven” - Leyland local reopens to fanfare in honour of beloved late publican
A Leyland pub has reopened with fanfare following the easing of lockdown restrictions in honour of a beloved local publican who passed away earlier this year.
South Ribble mayor Jane Bell cut the ribbon at Dunkirk Hall on Dunkirk Lane and town crier Peter Tauntonwas called in to mark the occasion.
The Dunkirk is one of many businesses across Lancashire reopening after a long lockdown but the opening was also special for another reason.
Jim Andrew, who ran the pub, sadly passed away from heart complications in February this year and his wife and fellow publican Anna Marie Andrew promised him that the reopening would be extra special.
“Jim passed away on February 13 and I wanted to keep my word to my love,” said Anna Marie.
“I’m loud but I needed somebody louder because it had to be heard in heaven.”
The pub owner hoped that the opening would be ‘upbeat’ and ‘give the community hope’ after a difficult period.
“Jim would have loved it,” she said.
On October 15 last year, the couple took over the running of the Dunkirk Hall.
But on the same day Jim was hospitalised for complications from heart disease.
All pubs then closed on October 16 due to Lancashire being placed in a localised tier 3 lockdown.
“Jim was in hospital in the Jim Quick ward at Wythenshawe Hospital,” Anna Marie said.
“I went to the hospital that night with koala cookies and Irn Bru because the pub company is Koala Pub Company.
“When lockdown happened 24 hours later I said to Jim ‘don’t worry darling, this will give us time to sort the pub out and it will give us something to shout about’.”
True to her word, Anna Marie organised the pub’s reopening ceremony and also kept it a secret from staff at The Dunkirk.
“Jim did a lot of work in the community for South Ribble so I’m very proud of him and I just wanted him to be there in spirit,” Anna Marie said.
“Jim was very much loved and he had been in Leyland for over 20 years.
“He sadly passed away from heart failure so now all our pubs will have the British Heart Foundation as our nominated charity.”
Jim helped to set up the South Ribble Pubwatch and Schemelink in 2018 and was elected as vice-chairman.
This legacy will help to make local pubs safer for years to come and Schemelink allows publicans to share names and photos of banned pub-goers in the borough.
The Andrews also took over the running of Leyland’s Railway Pub and the Fox and Lion, where Jim’s sense of humour and character will be missed.
“He just loved life,” said Annamarie, “He was an amazing person and he was so young at 62.
“Jim used to shock the staff whenever we did a launch because he’d say ‘we’re going to be doing T.I.T.S’ and the staff would be thinking ‘what’s that’?
“But of course he meant that we were ‘taking it to the streets’!
“So now we are taking this reopening to the streets and we are shouting out about it.”
Due to his work with the local communities and fellow pub owners, Jim would regularly grace the newspaper.
“Jim used to love it when we hit the papers,” Annamarie said.
“The last time we hit the papers he joked that he’d ‘made it to page three with his top on’!
“If there wasn’t a pandemic, he would still be here.”