On Saturday 30th April Emmerdale star Emma Atkins officially declared “first orders!” at our newly re-opened pub in Silverdale.

After standing empty since 2010, The Royal is now once again pulling pints following a £300,000 refurbishment project by local family-run business Holgates.

Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle in the popular TV soap, rasied her glass on behalf of the village in which she grew up, and where her parents still live.

Pub owner Michael Holgate, whose family enterprise includes nearby Silverdale Holiday Park and five other Cumbrian and North Lancs parks, believes The Royal now has a sparkling future.

A large chunk of the near-third million pound makeover, he said, had gone into redesigning, equipping and furnishing the public areas to create a “warm, welcoming and stylish ambiance”.

The Royal’s re-fitted kitchens also now boast state-of-the-art catering technology, and will provide meals both in the bar and the pub’s second-floor dining room.

The Royal has a strong emphasis on Lancashire and Cumbrian sourced ingredients, complementing the regularly changing selection of different craft ales brewed in Lakeland.

Up to ten full and part-time jobs have been initially created by the pub, and Michael hopes the benefits will also be felt throughout the wider community:

“This part of Lancashire and South Cumbria is growing in popularity all the time as a tourist destination, as we well know from the ever-rising number of visitors to Holgates Silverdale Holiday Park,” he said.

“Providing another high-quality facility for eating and drinking will, I think, increase its appeal even more – and the spending of extra visitors benefits all types of businesses in the area.

“Just as importantly, though, we want The Royal to be regarded as a friendly place where people living locally can simply meet and relax in comfortable, easy-going surroundings.

“We are well aware, of course, that in recent years many local pubs have been calling time and closing down – so in some ways we are bucking a national trend.

“However, all the evidence shows that pubs which offer a distinct identity and first-class hospitality, as well as high quality food and drink, will survive and prosper.

“That is definitely our recipe for success,” said Michael whose grandfather first came to Silverdale 60 years ago and founded his family’s park business.

Emma, who last year gave birth to a boy just before her fortieth birthday, was born and grew up in Silverdale; her parents and other family members still live locally, and she is a frequent visitor.

Whilst studying at university, where she obtained a first class honours degree, Emma was spotted by an agent at an acting workshop in Manchester, and offered a part in Emmerdale.