A Whitefield dad-of-two has praised his pub after it has become a "lifeline" for him in between chemotherapy treatments.

Tony Price, 59, was diagnosed with a large tumour in his stomach after suffering from sharp pains in July 2021.

Originally believing it was appendicitis, he underwent a half-hour procedure that turned into six hours after surgeons discovered a large tumour in his stomach.

He said: “It was so shocking as well as horrendously painful, it was the last thing I expected.”

Surgery was followed with chemotherapy and in November 2021 he was given the "all clear".

But by October last year, Tony began to feel pain in his stomach and a lump before a scan revealed that the cancer had returned at stage 4, in his bowel and liver and was terminal.

He said: “To say that Jess and I were absolutely devastated is an understatement, we couldnt believe it.

“But, what was amazing was the support network developed around us.

Bury Times: Tony Price with partner Jess DuffyTony Price with partner Jess Duffy (Image: Joseph Holt)

“Friends and family were incredible, and the Frigate, our local pub, became something of a lifeline because its such a lively, happy place to go in and just feel normal.”

The Frigate on Thatch Leach Lane has been a place to relax for former HGV driver Tony and while treatment means he must stick to soft drinks, being with friends has become, an “essential part” of his life.

His partner, Jess Duffy, 33, said: “It's brilliant because it means that we can both relax.

“It has just become a vital part of our world, not least thanks to the landlady, Lisa McCormack, her colleague, Tony Moran, and the staff too.

“Even if its a week when Tony is having chemotherapy, we go in, that's how important the pub has become to both of us.”

The venue also gave Tony one of “the happiest nights” of his life when landlady Lisa, friends and family organised a surprise birthday party for him.

He said: “Even though I was having chemotherapy that week I thought we'd just pop into the pub for a few drinks with my two kids, my three-year-old granddaughter Mali, as well as Jess and her two children. 

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“I was feeling weak and couldn't have any kind of proper night out so it was incredible to walk in and see the place packed to the rafters with friends, my old army mates and old neighbours.

“I'll admit I shed more than a few tears that night.”

A friend surprised the pair by lending them an apartment in the Canary Islands so that they could have a holiday and pub regulars raised £400 for travel insurance, which would have been expensive due to Tony`s terminal diagnosis.

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Since the holiday, Tony is having chemotherapy every other week.

He said: “I don't know what’s going to happen but, in the meantime, we try to live life as normally as possible.

“My family is incredible, as are Lisa and Tony at the pub and all our friends, we are so grateful.”

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Landlady of The Frigate, Lisa, said: “I`ve known Tony for years and he has been coming in the Frigate since I took over the pub four years ago.

“It's part of the Joseph Holt philosophy as a brewery to be so much more than a pub.

“We are part of the community, and it is so much more than a local - we are just happy to do everything we can to support him and Jess through such a hard time and to bring as much comfort, friendship and light as we can.”

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