CAMPAIGN group has been set up to stop a well- loved Bolton restaurant from closing — by a Bolton- ian living 10,000 miles away.

The group — Keep Smithills Coaching house Open — on the social networking site, Face- book, was launched on Wednes- day, and already has more than 300 members.

Behind the campaign is 37- year-old Andy Parsons who moved to Australia from Bolton at the age of 15.

He read about the closure of Smithills at the end of August after 46 years in business on The Bolton News website last week.

Andy is urging Smithills fans from his home Down Under to spread the word about the cam- paign in the hope that they will “make a difference” to thlans of the new owner. He said the restaurant held many happy memories for himself and his family and he felt “physically sick” when he learned it was to close.

He added: “I am from Bolton and as a child our family visit- ed Smithills whenever there was a big family celebration.

“On every occasion I've always found the food, the serv- ice and the atmosphere very, very special, but it is the mem- ories it holds for me that mean the most.

“In such a changed and still changing world, I always thought Smithills Coaching House would be one of the very few places I could rely on not to change.

“On seeing the report in The Bolton News that Smithills is to close, my first thought was it must be a joke. But on reading it I realised it’s not and I felt physically sick.

“It’s too sad to put into words.”

The coaching house, which is in the former stables of the grade one listed Smithills Hall, off Smithills Dean Road, has been sold to a new owner.

Staff, who are being made redundant in August, have been told the building will no longer be a restaurant and the owner’s want to obtain plan- ning permission to develop the site.

No planning application has been submitted to Bolton Coun- cil as yet and it is not known what the plans are of the new owners.