THE manager of one of Fleetwood’s oldest surviving pubs has hit back at persistent rumours that it is about to close.
Alan Ainsworth and wife Heather took over The Steamer on Queen’s Terrace, back in May.
They took the helm after the departure of predecessors Ian Wright and Emma Jardine, and have signed up for a 20-week lease.
The couple say they are enjoying working at the Victorian pub, which has been operating since at least the 1860s, when it was sometimes used for inquests and formal meetings.
However, Alan says rumours have been circulating that it is to follow the path of nearby pubs such as The Victoria, The Ship and The Fleetwood Arms, and close down.
He told the Weekly News: “The fact is, we are not closing!
“I keep having some of my regulars being told that we are, and then they are asking me about it.
“This is possibly a kind of smear campaign in order to draw customers away and to say we are a bit annoyed at this is a bit of an understatement. We would like to invite all the doubting Thomases around any time they like, this would prove we are open all the time.
“As for anybody who may be spreading these lies, I would like them to come here. We would be only too happy to put them straight.”
The couple say regulars at the pub, which is owned by brewery Scottish and Newcastle, have been very welcoming but the stories of closure have been unsettling.
The Steamer is the first pub the couple have run and they love it because they think it has bags of character and friendly locals.
Alan, 58, worked for B&M Bargains, while Heather, 57, was a receptionist at Tiffany’s Hotel in Blackpool.
The couple became involved with The Steamer because their son and his wife run the Gynn pub on North Shore, owned by Lancashire Leisure Solutions.
That is the same holding company which Scottish and Newcastle have leased The Steamer to, and their son recommended them for the Fleetwood job.
Fleetwood has lost half a dozen pubs in the last few years but Alan and Heather say they are determined to keep The Steamer steaming ahead.
The pub is still playing host to live music and has a steady stream of loyal customers.
A Scottish and Newcastle spokesman said: “We have no intention of closing The Steamer. It is part of our plans to keep this pub open.”