NOSTALGIA: The curse of Rio’s Showbar, Whalley

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Back in the 1980s everyone was talking about Rio’s Showbar at The Sandpiper in Whalley.

Resident DJ/comedy drag act/fire eater at Rio’s was Keith Boden, who has sent in this photo of one of the venue’s last staff dinners.

“Over the years I have said there was a curse on the staff and management of the original Rio’s Showbar in the ’80s, the first ever-large fun pub open till late,” writes Keith, who still lives locally.

“I now believe it’s true as almost every member of staff involved in Rio’s Showbar has had some kind of tragedy or died very young. First was Paul, who was killed in a car accident on New Year’s Day, returning form a night out in Manchester in the ’80s.

“Then it was Peter, owner of The Sandpiper, who went to Ibiza to start work on the second Rio’s Showbar but died suddenly before his 40th birthday. Then my sister, returning home from the showbar, was taken ill and now is paralyzed.

“There have also been customers from the showbar killed in car and bike accidents over the years. Most tragic was Sandra, a member of staff for a long time, and her husband David, who were killed in a bad car accident.

“Now it’s my turn, as I ended up not being able to get out of bed on the May bank holiday 2011. After three operations on my spine, I am still having to have pain management and just about able to walk slowly. So tell me, am I wrong in thinking the staff are cursed? I would like to know if any of the other staff have had similar problems over the years.”