A dry run in memory of Wigan dad Charlie
Shaun O’Donnell, landlord of the Old Pear Tree on Frog Lane, is ditching the booze for the entirety of August, to raise money for the family of close friend Charlie Garside, who died earlier this year.
Other news: Publican is shot by barred customerThe 53-year-old is doing the challenge with close friend Kevin Clossick - who lodges with Shaun - and the pair are keeping each other motivated through their drinking abstinence.
Since midnight on July 31, the pair have foregone their usual tipples of lager and cider and have been downing pints of cordial instead.
They saw in their month-long challenge by playing The Final Countdown on the pub jukebox as midnight loomed.
Shaun said: “As you can imagine, it’s very hard not having a drink when you’re serving people. It’s been hard, the first four days were really hard. It still is, but it’s getting that bit easier. But when you’re pumping beer for people, it’s tempting.”
But he added: “My partner Marie has helped me a lot. She’s been fully supportive. We’re being randomly breath tested to make sure we don’t drink.
“Everyone is behind us, everyone is getting involved. It’s a little community now.”
It’s all in memory of Charlie Garside, Shaun and Kevin’s long-time pal, who died just a few weeks ago. Charlie tragically died at home just days after getting the all-clear from cancer. He was 62 years old.
They plan to donate all funds raised to his widow, And although it can never take away the grief, they hope to at least ease some of the everyday financial pressures that come with losing a spouse. He had three children.
A picture of Charlie sits behind the bar as a constant reminder to Shaun and Kevin as to why they are putting themselves through the self-imposed challenge.
“He’d be laughing at us,” said Shaun. “He’s laughing at us every time we’re on the pop. Every time I’m reaching for the Vimto, he’s there smiling at us.”
Drinkers will be able to donate in the pub through sponsorship forms and bucket collections will be taking place on match days now that the new football season has begun.