A LANDLORD who has seen his venue undergo a £100,000 transformation celebrated 10 years at the helm.

Darren Hegge, 38, who lives in Mill Hill, has been running the Havelock Inn, Blackburn, for a decade.

The former manager of Rileys Snooker Club runs the ‘football-focused’ hostelry on behalf of Christopher Dilworth.

Before the big renovation the pub, built in 1857, had a disused large kitchen which was extended into a dance floor.

The refurbishment included the introduction of a children’s play area, bar garden, an outdoor stage and a 20-foot outdoor screen to show the World Cup and other live sport.

Reflecting on 10 years as manager, Darren said: “I used to live on the next street before running it but had never actually been in the pub. 

“My sister, Donna, encouraged me to have a look at it and possibly take it over and after much thought I decided to and I’ve never looked back. 
“We’ve now been here 10 years and it’s been quite a journey.

“It was very much a football-focused pub and it’s amazing to think of just how much it’s changed.

“Chris is a builder by trade and has a family who range from electricians, interior designers and sound and lighting engineers, so we’ve got them all involved in transforming the place.

“We still love live sport - we used to have one TV and now we have 14 - but we also now have lots of big events and entertainment, including car boot sales, markets and bonfire night parties.

“It’s been a whirlwind and we’ve plenty of exciting plans for the future, so I’m looking forward to the next 10 years now.”

Susan Entwistle, who has worked at the pub for five years and been a regular at the pub for 10 years, said she has seen some ‘big’ changes over the last decade.

She said: “There’s always something going on. 

“There’s very little to do in this part of town so the pub is great because it keeps everybody happy.

“It’s a really friendly atmosphere and very family oriented.

“As soon as you walk in the door there’s just such a good feeling.

“I love a bit of singing and take part in karaoke when I can.”

More than 200 people visited the town pub to celebrate the anniversary following Blackburn Rover’s home game against Oldham Athletic.

A variety of tribute acts performed for the special event, including Britney Spears, Rodney Stewart and Olly Murs.

The pub landlord said the highlight of the night was the Beatles tribute band, who played on the outdoor stage in the finale.

Cllr Jamie Groves, who has visited the pub, said: “The transformation of the pub is obvious.

“I have not been in there for a while but I know they hold fantastic events across the year particularly on bonfire night.

“It’s a great asset to the local community.”