I recall the proud declaration of a local years ago in our oldest pub, The Saddle Inn. “I’m not from Blackpool,” he insisted, “I’m from Great Marton!”
After 30 years, I share his affectionate loyalty. What’s more, this one-time village is becoming more distinctive – and colourful! You might see leading residents sporting outrageous suits – in tangerine or with stars, flamingoes or other garishness. But I should explain.
While our council busily flattens popular haunts, Blackpool’s main suburban thoroughfare of Whitegate Drive has quietly redeveloped to current tastes. There are homely restaurants, welcoming cafés, handy takeaways and bright renovations to landmark pubs (thankfully not the period Saddle).
A real-ale renaissance has also brought our resort’s first micro pub, the Number 10 Alehouse. Snug cask-ale ‘shops’ sell other drinks or food and are replacing former post offices, bank branches and corner greengrocers as neighbourhood meeting places.
At the No. 10, which has a sister version in St Annes, I’ve made many new friends: chatty builders; even more talkative merry widows; many dog owners (pooches welcome); or folk of unusual hobbies, like worldwide crossword fans, or a chap who’s sampled every real-ale pub in Lancashire. (He is now revisiting all, to check how many have sadly gone.)
Yes, we’re a colourful bunch but none more so than No. 10 owner George White (pictured), whose swashbuckling style brought us this popular new attraction. It was George’s 60th last week, celebrated firstly in his St Annes alehouse then here in Great Marton, where he sported his flash novelty suit of stars. I can reveal this startling attire was inspired by retired local teacher Tom, who sensationally wore one ablaze with flamingoes on New Year’s Eve.
Fortunately, then, all those depressing downward trends are being reversed here in friendly Great Marton, where neighbourliness and fun are still the stars – like George in his micro empire.
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