LIKE dozens of landlords across the borough, Lisa Moore of The Victoria in Walshaw is counting down the hours until April 12 when pubs can reopen their beer gardens.

During lockdown the pub has donated over 5,000 meals to local families in need, working with three local charities, The Attic Project, Caritas Red Door in Bury and Trinity Foodbank in Radcliffe, to ensure no one goes hungry.

In addition, the pub has cooked and donated over 1,400 meals to local hospitals in conjunction with Meals 4 The NHS, donated meals to volunteers at Roch Valley radio, supplied patients and staff on the Ramsbottom ward with a fish and chip supper and provided volunteers at charity Baby Basics with hot meals.

“After we were forced to close last March, we quickly realised it was sink or swim, said Lisa. “For the team at The Victoria, sinking simply wasn’t an option. We decided to do the two things we do best – serving the highest quality food and serving our local community – in a slightly different way.”

The business quickly adapted it’s menu to a takeaway service, complete with delivery, dishing up over 5,000 takeaway meals over the past year.

“Here at The Victoria, the local community is at the heart of everything single thing we do - being there for our customers is what we love and what we do best. "Whilst we’ve missed welcoming everyone to our usually busy bar and restaurant, being together in spirit has really kept us smiling through these difficult times.

“It’s going to be good to take some steps back to normality,” added Lisa.

Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to serve customers outdoors from Monday, April 12, but customers must order, eat and drink while seated at a table.

Restrictions have changed since pubs were last open, and people won’t need to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks - and there’ll be no 10pm curfew.

“The latest lifting of lockdown measures is great news, and will be particularly welcomed by those in the hospitality sector who have been hard hit by the restrictions,” said Angela Lomax, Bury Council’s head of public protection

“Pubs, cafes and restaurants are readying to welcome back customers for the first time in months, initially outdoors only.

“We’ve been working closely with the hospitality sector to ensure that they can reopen safely – they are a vital part of our local economy, with many jobs depending on their success."

“We’ve written to all hospitality businesses reminding them of the legislation that will still apply when they reopen on Monday."