‘Waiting game’ for Whaley Bridge publican

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Missing his pub: operator Tony Gunner can’t wait to return to the Goyt Inn amid a dam collapse in Derbyshire (image: Roger Kidd, Geograph)
Missing his pub: operator Tony Gunner can’t wait to return to the Goyt Inn amid a dam collapse in Derbyshire (image: Roger Kidd, Geograph)

Related tags: Pub, Derbyshire

A publican in Whaley Bridge has said he is desperate to get back behind his bar after the town was evacuated amid flooding fears.

Residents in Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, were told to leave their homes last week after the town’s dam partially collapsed.

Emergency services have since been pumping water out of the reservoir in order to protect the area from flooding.

Tony Gunner has operated the Goyt Inn, which sits at the bottom of the projected flood area – if the dam was to totally collapse – for 11 years with his partner Jennifer.

The operator told The Morning Advertiser​ he has missed speaking to customers in the pub, which has been closed since Thursday 1 August.

He said: “It is a waiting game now. I'm climbing walls, I need to get back into my pub and start work. 

“It is not so much trading, it is working. It’s seeing the people I see every day, having the banter – what a proper pub should be.”

Several of the inn’s regulars have offered to help out the couple, who are staying at a friend’s home with their dog. 

Community spirit

Gunner explained: “Because we are very much a community pub, we have loads of my customers who, even though not everybody is a dog lover, have said if you need somewhere to say we have a spare room. 

“It almost makes you cry, it is just so wonderful. And these are people that I take money off every day and they’re saying come stay with us, they’ll feed us, they’ll do whatever we need.”

Toddbrook Reservoir needs to drop to 25% before the 1,500 people evacuated are allowed back into their homes.

The operator was able to return to the village for 15 minutes last week and used the time to check the cellar. 

He said: “I have no idea what condition my beer is in and what I am going to do. I'm very much cask-orientated.”

Pubco Punch is set to help the operator with a same day delivery of beer or allow the operator to find beer elsewhere if this would not be possible.

Praise for emergency services

Gunner hopes to regain access this Thursday (8 August), if torrential rain is avoided, and aims to reopen the pub the next day.

He said the emergency services and volunteers had been “marvellous”.

“We are going to make it known that any members of the emergency services that want to come in for a drink are more than welcome. 

“The fire service and Buxton Mountain Rescue have just worked miracles, they really have – they are an absolutely wonderful bunch of people. 

“It is a shame it had to take something like this to see a community pull together, I mean we do, it’s a great little village to live in but everything comes together. Everyone is working flat out to save Whaley Bridge, it’s humbling.”

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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