Wigan pub helps in the fight against tropical disease

A refurbished Wigan pub has made a contribution to protecting families half a world away from tropical fever - by buying 200 sets of window shutters.

Thursday, 8th February 2018, 12:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th February 2018, 1:55 pm
Tony Callaghan with the shutters

The interior of Fifteens Standish features walls covered with shutters bought from the Sanur area of Bali, Indonesia - and the cash paid for them has in turn covered the cost of new shutters and mosquito nets for around 150 homes in the tropical village.

Tony Callaghan, who owns the bar which employs 34 people and benefitted from a £400,000 investment for refurb, had his "lightbulb moment" while on a trip to Indonesia which is where he buys furnishings and curios for his 19 bars and bistros.

"I usually buy furniture, antiques and ornaments for my pubs, bars and bistros: it’s a consistent theme and has been for many years, and adds a real character that only authentic Indonesian furnishings can," he said.

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"But in exploring the area and talking to local furniture traders I kept seeing the shutters - they had wonderful patinas and colours, something that you could never recreate - and then discovered that the families in the houses that had them were really scratching round for money to get more modern shutters with mosquito nets.

"It became apparent that they were more than happy to sell the shutters because what I was prepared to pay would cover the cost of new replacement mosquito-netted shutters for around 150 homes.

"There is a big problem with dengue fever - which is mosquito-borne - but it’s not a particularly well-off area, and even shutters and mosquito nets can be beyond their budgets.

"I’ve now got a uniquely-decorated bar, and a real feelgood in that I’ve made a contribution towards helping protect at least a few families against mosquito-borne diseases."

This isn’t the first time Mr Callaghan has helped the needy in far off places. Back in 2007 he appeared in a TV reality show called Millionaires’ Mission in which he and other wealthy business people spent time in a Ugandan village working out how best to improve the lot of the locals and eventually came up with the idea of a budget hotel for the area.