A PUB that has served punters for over 200 years is to close.

The Victoria Hotel in Tockholes Road, Golden Soney, Darwen, which dates back to 1776, will serve its last pints on Sunday, February 25.

Owner George Levey, who has run the pub for 21 years, will retire and the pub’s future is unknown.

Mr Levey, 65, said: “It is sad to step down and to see the pub closing as I love the area and running the pub.

“Over the years, many customers have become friends and this pub is really at the heart of the community.

“I would like to thank all the customers for their support.”

Until 2011, Mr Levey run the pub with his wife Jane Levey, but she died that year.

Since then, working up to 90 hours a week, Mr Levey has continued to keep the pub going with the help of daughter Evette.

He said: “I have run the pub for over 20 years and have decided to retire following a period of ill-health over Christmas.

“I am the main chef at the pub with my daughter Evette, who is also a chef.

“She has been helping me since she was 14.

“Both of us have now decided we don’t want to carry on with it.

“It would be difficult to recruit more staff and I’ve been advised that selling the pub could take up to 12 months.

“There are pubs closing up and down the country and I’m not sure the interest would be there to keep it going.

“So I’m going to shut the pub and retire and concentrate on getting myself fit.”

Mr Levey said the pub dates back to 1776 and was a hotel during the late 18th century and 19th century, but that throughout most of the 20th century it had run as a pub.

The pub sells traditional home-cooked meals and has proved popular, building up a loyal following of customers over the years.

Mr Levey, who lives in a flat above the pub added: “It’s a way of life running a pub.

“I’ve certainly put my complete time into this pub, working between 80 to 90 hours, seven days a week, since 1997.

“So now is the time to retire and enjoy the rest of my life.”

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