Blackbird pub regulars give it a makeover

thisisoxfordshire: ON A ROLL: Back, from left, Michael Malone, Steven Carnegie, Ian Dunlop, Chris Fontaine and Dave Simms; front, from left, Les Gaul, James Russell and Sue Simms help with the work ON A ROLL: Back, from left, Michael Malone, Steven Carnegie, Ian Dunlop, Chris Fontaine and Dave Simms; front, from left, Les Gaul, James Russell and Sue Simms help with the work

REGULARS at the Blackbird in Oxford have seen other pubs refurbished in recent times, but not their own local.

So they decided to do it up themselves at the weekend, with the permission of landlord Glen Williams.

Sixteen volunteers, some qualfied tradesman, stripped out the pub on Saturday and spent Sunday giving it a fresh lick of paint.

The Blackbird, in Blackbird Leys Road, now also has new curtains and a new carpet.

The project was organised by Sam Mitchell, who owns SJM Motor Repairs in Old Road, Headington, although a football coaching course at the weekend meant he wasn’t there to lend a hand.

His friend Dave Simms, 50, a painter and decorator from Blackbird Leys said: “We all lent a hand to try to tidy the place up a bit.

“Now it looks like a new pub. Everyone has done a fantastic job.”

The laminate flooring was polished by Dean Cox and Russell Chapman, while Sue Simms, Karen Johnson and Rachel Collins helped to clean the windows and toilets.

Landlady Paula Williams kept everyone energised by making burgers from behind the bar.

Mr Mitchell, 50, from Blackbird Leys, said: “We wanted to show how much we care about the pub.

“We were talking about other pubs getting a refurbishment.

“We said it had been a while since the Blackbird had been refurbished, probably 10 years or more. We decided we would deal with it ourselves.

“I sat down with my mates and said ‘what about if we get together to do something about it’?

“We asked the landlord if we could come in, shut the doors and paint the ceilings and the walls.

“We thought it would be better to improve our pub, rather than just leave it and moan about it.”

The pub is owned by Greene King and a spokesman said: “The Blackbird is strong with community spirit. We thank those who this weekend have been involved in decorating their local pub.”

Mr Mitchell added: “Blackbird Leys is really changing. The locals are getting together and saying ‘we’re going to do something about it’.”

An official opening will take place on Saturday, from 7.30pm.

The refurbishment comes days after the news that the Bullnose Morris on the estate is to have its second makeover in just over a year.

The Watlington Road pub has closed for a month as it is refurbished to become a Hungry Horse pub, focusing on meal deals.

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