The passing of a loyal customer is always a source of sorrow for landlady Lindsey Smethills.
And following the loss of one of her regulars, 79 year-old former sheet metal worker Terry Ryan, Lindsey, who runs the White Swan in Swinton, knew exactly how to express her feelings to the family – with a wreath in the shape of a glass of Joseph Holt beer reflecting the great-grandfather’s favourite tipple.
The floral arrangement was made by Lindsey’s florist pal, Danielle Brooke, who recently opened for business in the beer garden of the pub.
“It just seemed an obvious thing to do,” says Lindsey of the wreath, made from white double chrysanthemums, with gypsophila to create the creamy froth.
“Terry was such a lovely man who had been drinking in my pub for many years and since Danielle has just opened her business at the White Swan, the idea came to me immediately.”
The florist shop – known as the Flower Girl – is thought to be the first time such a collaboration has happened with a pub.
The arrangement came about after Danielle found herself without premises. So Lindsey immediately offered her a home in the grounds of the White Swan.
“Danielle is my best friend and, in fact, used to work a few shifts at the White Swan,” said Lindsey.
“With the rising cost of rent she’d been running her florist business from home.
“However, when I told her about a disused garage next to the beer garden, we agreed it would be a great place to set up shop.”
It took two weeks to empty, clean and paint the garage. What’s more, thanks to its proximity to the beer garden, Danielle has dressed the outside tables with flowers, too.
The White Swan is one of 127 pubs owned by the Joseph Holt brewery in Manchester.
The move to hosting a florist shop is signposting the way for more pubs to offer wider facilities to the communities they serve.
Four Joseph Holt pubs – the Cleveland Hotel, Crumpsall, Gardeners Arms, Middleton, Red Lion, St Helens and Wilton Arms, Radcliffe – all, for example, host launderette units in their car parks.
“Danielle is a lovely friend, but it also shows how businesses can help each other and serve the community,” said Lindsey.
“Her shop opens at 9am but often people will come in around noon, make orders for an arrangement, then maybe have a drink in the pub.
“The beer glass wreath just shows how fantastically talented she is. And since her customers and their families tend to have a connection to our pub or to the Joseph Holt brand, Danielle can take inspiration from her location.
“What’s more, the Flower Girl is also a really pretty addition to the White Swan.
“I always wanted to do some kind of mini shop to offer more diversity in terms of what a pub can offer.
“This is the perfect partnership for both of us.”