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Piece of history for couple 32 years after first date

A couple who went on their first date in a Bury town centre pub more than 30 years ago will have a piece of the venue’s history forever after being gifted it’s sign by The Rock shopping centre.

Debbie and Sean Newell, of Bolton, went on their first date at The Flying Shuttle pub on January 24th 1986.

Earlier this year Debbie, 48, contacted The Rock to ask if the couple could have the sign, to mark the start of their romance all those years ago.

She said: “Every time I go past with the children I tell them that’s where I met their dad – and every time they say ‘yes we know!’ I took a photo of it and I just thought, I would really love to have that sign and give it to Sean as a surprise.

“It’s a piece of history and I’m so happy we’ve got it. We don’t know exactly where we will put it yet, but it is going up on the wall in the house. The children think it’s really romantic. We’re so excited to take it home.”

The couple who married in 2002 have three children, Luke, 23, Emily, 19 and Eve, 14.

Sean, 50, added: “We met while working at John Kay Builders’ Merchants. Debbie was an office junior and I was an apprentice. Bury was always a good place to go out, Debbie lived in Tottington and I lived in Radcliffe so it was a great place to meet. We went to The Flying Shuttle many times over the years.”

Recalling the first date, Debbie said: “I remember Sean being 10 minutes late and thinking I’d give him another five minutes before leaving. When he arrived I just remember knowing right away he was the one – and as they say, the rest is history.”

The pub, which was hugely popular in its heyday has been closed for five years and is now owned by The Rock shopping centre. It will eventually be demolished to make way for further development.

Arnold Wilcox-Wood, Centre Director at The Rock, said: “When we received the enquiry from Debbie we were only too happy to help. We’re sure The Flying Shuttle was home to many first dates over the years and it’s wonderful to meet a couple who still treasure that first visit to the pub. We’re thrilled to be able to give them a small piece of history for them to forever remember that first date.”