A sad day in Mellor today as we learned of the sudden death of one of the village’s most well known figures. Phil McCartney, the landlord of The Royal Oak, Longhurst lane collapsed at the bar on the evening of 3rd January and passed away soon after.
The Royal oak is, by common consent, the most “pubby” of the three hostelries in the village. It has traditionally been the pub of choice for the sporting man from the local cricket, lacrosse, tennis and golf clubs. It is also the traditional starting and ending point of the annual Mellor March, one of the highlights of the local calendar with many tens of thousands of pounds raised for charities. It is the furthest pub from where we live and quite a walk so we have never been especially regular users of the Royal Oak.
I knew Phil slightly from the Midlanders Golf Society, his brief time as landlord of the Oddfellows and his four or so years when he made the Royal Oak his own. It was a measure of the man that he would always treat you as a friend and remember your name whenever you visited his pub. He was the true host; the definition of geniality. Always ready with a smile and a joke, he seemed to have a word for everyone. He continued the tradition the Oak has had as a community pub and added some events of his own. I recall passing just before Christmas to see signs advertising Santa’s visit and carol singing. Throughout the summer months there would be barbeques and social events on a regular basis. Every major sporting event would see the pub full to the brim.
Our thoughts are with Debbie and his family, Mellor has lost one of it’s true characters.
5th January 2013. Since writing this piece yesterday, there have been a record number of visitors to this blog. This serves to emphasise Phil’s popularity and the esteem that he was held in. Please feel free to add your thoughts as others have done below as comments.