First published in the Saddleworth Independent
SHARON Musgrove has always described herself as a “risk aversion person.”
That though was before she decided to swap a long-standing career in wealth management to become a village pub landlady.
Sharon Musgrove outside the Dobcross Pub, The Swan
So, when the country emerges from its current lockdown Sharon will re-open the doors of the Swan at Dobcross-her local for more than 20 years.
Sharon has been a Dobcross resident for even longer and believes the two factors can compensate for her lack of experience in the licensing trade.“I have left a good job to do this so literally it can’t fail,” she laughed. “I can think of one hundred good reasons why it is a bad idea.
“We had one of the carpets replaced recently and even the fitter said: ‘What are you doing taking over this pub, you seem such a sensible woman!
“But I decided while it is in my head I am going to do it and not talk myself out of it.
“I have approached this with the view I know lots of people in the village and I know I can get the customers to come back.
“I think that is the hardest bit but that is also the bit I know I can achieve. All the other things are learnable,” said Sharon.
“I know what works and what doesn’t even though I have no experience. But I kind of have because that has been my local pub for such a long time.”
Sharon, a one-time Blue Coat School pupil, takes over the Marstons owned pub from Joanne Caffrey who had managed the 18th century hostelry since the end of July 2020.
Prior to first lockdown in March, the Swan had been run since July 2018 by Alex Smith, Mike Leighton and Mark Paterson. The trio stepped in after Huw Kendry’s departure earlier that year.
Sharon aims to re-open as soon as possible after the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted.
There’s a chef already in place with a view to producing “good modern British food people in the village want to eat.
“Lots of people have already given me their support and I can’t wait for it to be back open,” she added.
“I had a significant birthday last year and I started to think if I could do something else.
“I didn’t know if Marstons would entertain me but when this opportunity came up, I thought if I didn’t do it, I would never know.”
Ironically, husband Aki is a careers advisor at Manchester College and the couple had previously discussed the possibility of Sharon swopping pounds for pints.
One of Sharon’s priorities once life returns to some sort of normality is to utilise the Swan’s function room.
‘Upstairs at the Swan’ became a successful theatre and performance space under former landlords, Tim Newbold and Michael Powis.
“That is one of the attractions of taking on the pub because there are so many things you can do with that room,” she confirmed.
“It is a great resource and people loved it. So, putting on entertainment up there is high on the agenda once things get back to normal.”
Villagers have already good naturedly dubbed their new landlady as Dobcross’s answer to soap pub icons Bet Lynch and Peggy Mitchell. But the name above the door is definitely that of Sharon Musgrove.