A PUB described as being at the heart of the community has closed.

The Jolly Carter in Little Lever called time on Saturday.

Landlord and landlady Steven Bryan and Helen Duffy said 18 months of restrictions and temporary closures due to the pandemic had ‘taken its toll’.

The two had run the popular pub in Church Street for the past five years.

The future of the pub now remains uncertain.

Regular lockdowns and other restrictions in place over the past 18 months due to the coronavirus hit Bolton’s hospitality industry particularly hard.

The landlords said that despite pouring every penny as well as their “heart and soul” into the pub they could not sustain it in light of rising costs.

In a statement they said: “ Thank you to those of you who came in over the weekend to wish us well. We were given lots of lovely cards and gifts which were unexpected but gratefully received.

“Obviously this isn’t how we wanted to leave and it still doesn’t quite feel real but we didn’t have any other option in the end. 18 months of closures and restrictions with high outgoings and unrealistic rent charges took its toll eventually and despite pouring every penny (and our heart and soul) into our beloved Jolly we can’t sustain it unfortunately.

“We would like to thank in particular our amazing staff who have been supportive and hard working until the end. We have been incredibly lucky that since reopening in April, despite the challenges and ever changing rules, they have stuck by us and our customers. We cannot thank you all enough! We are so sorry we let you down.

“And finally to our customers and friends, who have become more like family to us, your friendship over the years but particularly the last few weeks has been truly amazing. You know who you are and we love you and will miss you so much.

“We would like to take this last opportunity to wish you all well and thank you again. Pesky viruses aside, we have loved every minute of it.”

For several years the pub has hosted a quiz team which plays in the Bolton Premier League on Monday evenings and is now looking for a new venue.

Team member Andy Scoble said: “It’s a great pity it’s closing as the pub was an excellent host venue and we are all sorry to see it go.”

Stonegate, who own the pub, have been contacted about the future of the site.