Phil McCartney, The Royal Oak

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.


About Moorendman

A traveller through life who reads a great many of peoples works whilst self teaching himself.
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38 Responses to Phil McCartney, The Royal Oak

  1. dave says:

    It’s a sad day. Phil was a lovely guy and a great landlord of the Oak. He will be sorely missed. RIP Phil.

  2. Peta says:

    RIP, a lovely man and our condolences to Debbie, Dan and the rest of his family.

  3. Ian Wolfendale says:

    Shocking and very sad news; like you, we aren’t regulars of the Oak but whenever we went in Phil was the larger than the life character keeping everything moving – old school landlord in the best tradition – god bless him.

    I do worry about the future of all 3 pubs in Mellor.

  4. tommuirhead3636 says:

    What a hospitable, generous man. I’ve only been going to the Oak for three months, he knew my name and made me welcome – and made the pub the friendliest around. Thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

  5. Liz longworth says:

    such a sad day,a true gentleman in every sense of the word. mellor wont be the same without you phil. miss you, John and Liz Longworth.

  6. Mark mags and family says:

    Fantastic guy, a true grafter, great with people on every age RIP phil, are thoughts are with Debbie and dan x

  7. Charlotte says:

    I haven’t seen him since he left the Oddfellows i would have gone over to the royal oak if i’s known he’d returned to the area…i used to work for Phil at the Oddfellows….he was a very hard worker…the work he did on burns night a few years ago was phenominal…i used to send him up the odd pint of star in the Oddfellows lift…he was also a very creative man…he wrote a poem in honor of his mother which he read out at her wake and also shared with everyone at the Oddfellows on Mothers day…a real character that will be sadly missed

  8. dave Qualter says:

    We moved into Mellor about the same time Phil took over at the Royal Oak. He made us feel so welcome and did so much for the community. Our thoughts are with Debbie and Dan. He will be very sadly missed.

  9. David Myers says:

    Phil was a great friend to me for over 20 years, he was funny, genuine and a true gentleman. My children loved him so much and has left a community in deep shock and sadness.

    My prayers and thought are with Debbie, Dan and the wider family, love you so much…

  10. says:

    Phil a brilliant person a true gentleman and a friend to many who will be sadly missed by everybody . Everybody I know liked phil , he was everything a perfect landlord should be .

    God bless pal from your mate in the Windsor Joanne xxxx

  11. Tom R says:

    The most welcoming friendly face you could wish for when walking in a pub for a pint!! He was kind, funny and by far a true gentlemen. Gona miss his jokes, even though some of them were shocking, you still had a laugh with him over them. You’ve been taken away way to soon and although you’ve gone, I think I can speak for everybody when I say you will never be forgotten. Thoughts to debs and the family at this sad time. RIP BIG MAN. X

  12. Tina Turner (Vancouver, B.C. Canada) says:

    My sincere condolences to the McCartney family. Deb is my dear friend of over 30 years and when she left Vancouver to share her life with Phil – she surely was blessed to have met such a wonderful man. I was blessed this past summer to get to visit and spend time with them. What an amazing spirit Phil is – it was incredible to see how much he was admired and loved by the whole community of Mellor. It didn’t matter where we went while I was there, the room lit up with his prescence, the minute he came in. The Royal Oak is alive with patrons that I know cherish spending time there because of Phil, Deb, Dan and all the others that work there making them feel like family, from the Hugs, the listening ears, to the stories and the laughter and just making you feel very welcomed.. I am truly saddened that he has passed and left this world way to soon, but he will never be forgotten. God bless the family with strength and comfort as you grieve the loss of a wonderful man with a beautiful zest for life.

  13. GED DALY says:

    My father and I regularly go to the pub on every United match and we were in only yesterday only to hear of the extremely sad news of the loss of Phil, someone of great character who made the pub what it is today. It is my favourite pub and he Deb and Dan always made, and make us feel very welcome. I come a long way (from Chadderton,) because of Phil and his family and their welcome. It is such a friendly pub and Phil was the main reason for this. RIP Phil you will be sorely missed.

    From my Dad Louis and myself Ged

  14. RICHARD says:

    a fantastic bloke and very genuine man. he will be sorely missed

  15. Sue and Terry says:

    Terry and Sue McDonald
    So sorry to hear this very sad news, our thoughts are with his family.

  16. All the comments above are unbelievably true. One perfect landlord. Phil was an amazing person; although I never got his jokes when he read them out .. but that’s because I’m a bit stupid like that and my mind goes wandering on the descriptive words in the jokes.. Phil knew this though and always tried to explain it better for me – miss you Phil!

  17. Karen says:

    Phil will be greatly missed by the local community and beyond. Does anybody know his funeral details?

  18. Nigel and Teresa Barnard says:

    We are very sad to hear this news.

  19. Roger Temple says:

    Phil’s death is such sad news. He worked for me in Ashton back in the 1980’s when he was my assistant manger in the Burnley Building Society Office. After only a few weeks most people assumed he was the manager instead of me and I was quite happy to let him get on with it! I could not have worked with him much longer as he made my sides hurt with laughing so much of the time. Believe it or not we often went out for a run at lunchtimes and afterwards took great delight in inventing new fillings for sandwiches to order at the local shop! We worked together for several years from around 2000 and he made ‘work’ a good place to be. He had a great line in jokes and could tell the same one so many times without it sounding repetitious. In fact we got it down to telling ‘his’ jokes by numbers so it saved time! He was a real grafter and I know he will be sadly missed by so many people.

  20. Anne & Geoff Gullon says:

    We have both known Phil for many years and although we have not seen him in recent times we often talk about him and the way he would liven up the many training courses we attended whilst all working at The Derbyshire Building Society. Our thoughts are with his family.

  21. Max & Lesley says:

    Such sad news. Phil was one of lifes truly nice guys, he hosted our wedding celebration in The Oak recently and put all his well-known warmth and enthusiasm into making our evening so special. Debbie and he were perfect partners and our thoughts are with her and Dan at this time. We’ll miss you mate. X

  22. David Myers says:

    Funeral details: 22nd January 1pm at mellor church.

  23. Kat Higgins says:

    An unbelievable man. Known Phil and family throughout his time at the Royal Oak which my family have pretty much lived in over the 25yrs we have lived in Mellor. He will be sadly missed. He had the special persona of always being able to make anyone smile and make that person feel so special. I know most of the village had a stiff drink in honor of Phil on the Friday after he passed. Looking forward to celebrating together what was a short, but incredible life of Phil McCartney. RIP with the angels xx

  24. Nick Phipps says:

    Phil was a Midlander, a good friend, golfing companion and a splendid convivial landlord. He will be sadly missed by everyone who had the pleasure of his company and friendship. Debbie and his family are in our thoughts at this sad time.
    Nick (on behalf of the Midlanders’)

  25. Les and Julia says:

    There was no time to say goodbye, words are few, feelings deep. A true gentleman who made you feel very welcome and always had time to stop and talk to you. You will be sadly missed Phil. Our thoughts are with Debbie and Dan at this very sad time. x

  26. Mike T says:

    To lose such a great bloke is a tragedy.

    Phil had time for everybody, even in the mornings after many long nights before where we’d probably done his head in for several hours, he was always there with a smile as he’d remind us of our antics of the previous night.

    Phil could’ve been a traffic warden and you’d have found it hard not to love him.

    The word gentleman should be reserved for people like Phil and he will be sadly missed.

    RIP buddy

  27. Helen Kynaston says:

    My family will really miss Phil. His wit, his charm, his welcoming smile will be missed in the Oak and in Mellor. Our thoughts are with Debbie and Danny x

  28. Johnny says:

    Very sad time in Mellor. Phil was a great guy, fantastic landlord and a huge part of the community.
    As a part of the cricket and lacrosse clubs i saw first hand how keen and happy he was to get involved and help out wherever he could. He was always friendly and welcoming to anyone and everyone.He will be sorely missed.

  29. Helen Walker says:

    Phil was truly a friend to everyone i know when ever i had a problem with work he would try his best to help out . Even creating a job at the oak that i know wasn’t really there .
    We all loved Phil and we will all miss you soo much . Are hearts go out to Debbie , Dan and all the rest of the family .
    A true gentleman and great fun to be with , RIP Love Helen , Alexandra , Lois and Family xxx

  30. John Baker says:

    Heard the sad news today. It’s a while since I last saw Phil – I guess when he parted company with the Derbyshire. Very many happy and truly hilarious memories of a dear colleague and member of the “Career on Hold” club. It is hard to imagine the great sense of loss those close to him now will feel.

  31. Sue Hallam says:

    First met Phil as a Wednesday ‘early doors’ regular at the Oddfellows. A welcoming, friendly, and lovely man! It didn’t matter if you were only an occasional visitor to The Oak (like me) or a ‘regular’, he always greeted you with familiarity and warmth…
    Phil was also a great friend and supporter of Mellor Lacrosse Club where many of all ages will miss him.
    Love to Debbie and Dan xx

  32. Vicki Arnott says:

    My heartfelt condolences to Deb and Dan. Phil was such a great guy, and so welcoming when I was fortunate enough to spend some time staying with Deb and Phil. I will cherish the memories of that visit, the site-seeing, the dinners, and all the laughing! He has been taken too soon, and will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Love from Vicki

  33. Martin Duckworth says:

    A pub needs many things to help it survive these days and a good landlord is pretty much at the top of the list. Luckily for the Royal Oak, and Mellor, Phil was more than a good landlord, he was a great one. The way he made an exile like me feel like a regular marked him out as the ideal man to be behind the bar – you never felt unwelcome in Phil’s ‘house’.
    It’s gutting to have to write about this great character in the past tense but I’m so glad I shared a few good pints (and bad jokes) in his pub at Christmas.
    Cheers Phil.

  34. Ian settle says:

    To Phil’s family and the people of Mellor. Just learnt that my old work mate has passed away. My heart goes to you all. Phil was one of those great guys who you never forgot and always look forward to seeing again. God bless him and everyone who knew him.

  35. Dave Bailey says:

    Still in shock, it was so sudden. The church service was wonderful, rousing hymns, a funny and heartfelt eulogy from Paddy. Heartbreakding, but life afirming tributes from Dan and Debs’ sister.
    A lovely lugubrious man, generous, funny and in my humble estimation from visiting pubs for four decades, the best landlord you could hope to meet.

    Good bye Phil, rest in peace

  36. The baythorpes says:

    Still finding it hard to believe he’s not going to be in the pub giving all a friendly welcome. Thoughts and love to Debbie, Dan and family x

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