[T]here was a happy homecoming last Saturday (30 April) for Emmerdale star Emma Atkins when she officially declared “first orders!” at a newly re-opened pub in Silverdale.
After standing empty since 2010, The Royal is once again be pulling pints following a £300,000 refurbishment project by local family-run business Holgates.
Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle in the popular TV soap, raised her glass on behalf of the Lancs village on the Cumbria border where she grew up, and where her parents still live.
Pub owner Michael Holgate, whose family enterprise includes nearby Silverdale Holiday Park and five other Cumbrian and North Lancs parks, believes The Royal now has a sparkling future.
A large chunk of the near-third million pound makeover, he said, had gone into redesigning, equipping and furnishing the public areas to create a “warm, welcoming and stylish ambiance”.
The Royal’s re-fitted kitchens also now boast state-of-the-art catering technology, and will provide meals both in the bar and the pub’s second-floor dining room.
There will, says Michael, be a strong emphasis on Cumbrian sourced ingredients, complementing the regularly changing selection of different craft ales brewed in Lakeland.
Emma said she was delighted to see The Royal re-open in the heart of the village in which she grew up, and which held many happy childhood memories for her.
She congratulated Michael Holgate on his initiative, and wished him and his staff team good luck for the future.
Up to ten full and part-time jobs have been initially created by the pub, and Michael hopes the benefits will also be felt throughout the wider community: “This part of South Cumbria is growing in popularity all the time as a tourist destination, as we well know from the ever-rising number of visitors to Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park,” he said.
“Providing another high-quality facility for eating and drinking will, I think, increase its appeal even more – and the spending of extra visitors benefits all types of businesses in the area.
“Just as importantly, though, we want The Royal to be regarded as a friendly place where people living locally can simply meet and relax in comfortable, easy-going surroundings.
“We are well aware, of course, that in recent years many local pubs have been calling time and closing down – so in some ways we are bucking a national trend.
“However, all the evidence shows that pubs which offer a distinct identity and first-class hospitality, as well as high quality food and drink, will survive and prosper.
“That is definitely our recipe for success,” said Michael whose grandfather first came to Silverdale 60 years ago and founded his family’s park business.