THE future of the oldest pub in Bolton was toasted as it opened its doors once again last night.

About 20 people queued outside, waiting for the doors to the historic Ye Olde Man and Scythe in Churchgate to reopen.

And more regulars and new faces turned up throughout the evening to raise a glass and celebrate the pub’s future after its shock closure on October 15.

Stephen McFadden, from The Haulgh, said: “I have been coming here since 1974.

“I was shocked when it shut and I am glad to be back here. It is a great pub, the staff and the people who come here. It is a good old-fashioned pub.”

Brian Greenhalgh, aged 66, from Bolton, added: “I was gutted when it shut, and am glad it’s opened again.

“This pub already is a tourist attraction and is a traditional pub for all ages.”

Staff were back behind the bar, with Wes Brown in charge as manager. He said: “I have worked here for 10 years, and it was brilliant just being back in the building and back behind the bar. I have seen a few new faces.”

One ‘new face’ was the new man behind the bar, Richard Greenwood, who has been appointed by brewery Enterprise Inns.

Mr Greenwood, aged 37, has worked as a consultant for bars and hotels all over the world and said he wants to capitalise on the pub's history to promote it more as a tourist attraction. He said: “I live in the town and have been in as a customer when I was in Bolton. I was disappointed when it shut.

“I think it is the best pub in Bolton and I want to build on base we have. We have had great support, there were 20 people waiting outside.

“The staff here are very active in Pubwatch and Bolton’s night time economy which we will continue to be part of it.

“When the pub closed we heard that other pubs had seen a downturn in trade so this pub brings people into town.”

Ye Olde Man and Scythe had been run by John Jewitt who drowned on holiday in Lanzarote last year.

His widow, Jaycee Jewitt, took over the running of the popular pub until it closed last month.

l The pub dates back to 1251 and is thought to be one of the four oldest public houses in the country. It is also said to be the scene of the execution of James Stanley, the seventh Earl of Derby, in 1651.