Celebrating three decades at Swan

Steve and Christine Dilworth are presented their CAMRA award by John Webster. (s)
Steve and Christine Dilworth are presented their CAMRA award by John Webster. (s)

Villagers, regulars and locals congregated to help celebrate the 30-year anniversary of a popular couple running their award-winning pub.

Steve and Christine Dilworth have seen the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton go from strength to strength throughout their tenure, culminating in being crowned CAMRA National Pub of the Year in 2014 and runner up for the same coveted titles on two more occasions.

The celebrations saw more than 200 guests join Christine, Steve and their two sons Michael and Robert, who have also joined the business, for a barbecue in the pub’s beer garden on Sunday.

Steve (63) said: “We had an absolutely fantastic day. We knew as soon as we came to look at the pub all those years ago that this was where we wanted to be and the fact that everyone came to celebrate with us, and then 12 people turned up on Monday morning to help us clear up after the party, shows what kind of village this is.”

The first thing that the Dilworth’s did after they arrived at the pub back in 1987 was to introduce real ale to the single hand pump behind the bar.

After introducing the pub’s famous pies, along with many other family favourites to the menu, Steve was the main chef in the kitchen for many years.

He recently handed over the lion’s share of the culinary duties to son Michael, whilst Robert looks after the bar and cellar alongside Steve and Christine is in charge of front of house.

Steve continued: “We have seen a big change to the business over the years. When we first came here, the emphasis was definitely on drinks, with food just a part of it.

“People now eat out much more and this has seen us expand our food operation to the point where we are now. We have always received great support from the village, as well as many more customers coming from Clitheroe, Barrow, Whalley and also from further afield.

“The CAMRA award really boosted the business as awareness of our beers grew and people came from all over the country to try them.

“It was a stressful time for us as, though we obviously welcomed the new business, we never wanted our regulars to be sidelined or feel like they weren’t our priority. It turned out that they appreciated what we were trying to do and stayed with us, supporting us all the way.”

As the family celebrated on Sunday, they received another surprise from CAMRA in the form of an award in appreciation of 30 years of support for real ale, presented to them by John Webster, Chairman of the East Lancashire branch of CAMRA.