Michelle’s reindeer a big hit with market pub locals in Oldham

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 03 December 2019

A loveable model Christmas reindeer, saved from a council skip,  is being used to tug the public’s heartstrings to support worthwhile local  charities.

The  novel fundraiser,  dreamed up publican Michelle Riley, had already caught the imagination of her customers at her tiny pub, The Cob and Coal,  on Oldham’s Tommyfield Market.

Michelle, renowned for her zany sense of humour, has nicknamed the  reindeer Ant — because he only has half an antler.

Michelle, former  landlady  of The White Lion in Delph, said:  “While I was building the pub, the market let me use their compound to park as I was coming and going all day.

“One morning, I saw two hooves sticking out of the top of a skip. One  of the market workers on site so I asked what it was. He said it was a broken Christmas decoration. 

“I looked in and saw the reindeer. I got a bit upset and said that he couldn’t go to recycling.

“And when I  came back out of the market that evening, Ant had been taken out of the skip and was waiting by my car. 

“I brought him home - with difficulty - and he’s been here ever since. 

“I decided to rebuild his one remaining antler and patch him up a bit. He’s now takes  pride of place at the front of the pub  to raise money for various Charities.

“He’s already proving a hit with market customers   but I reckon John Lewis should take him on for their next years Christmas campaign — he beats a dragon any day!”

She went on: “Pennine pen animal rescue charity  do loads of good work with abandoned animals and as Ant was a rescue himself   it made sense to help raise money and get good donations. 

“The rescue team has  had a run of bad luck with their van getting broken into and a number of their charity boxes getting stolen.

“All my animals have been rescued and am currently mum to a seven year old errant rescue German Shepherd, Daisy.

“ And we also have a collecting box for Doctor Kershaws Hospice,” she added.

When Michelle opened the novel venue a few months ago,  Sara  Hewitt, The Town Centre and Markets Manager for the council, said: “We're thrilled  Michelle has chosen Tommyfield Market as the location for her new venture.”

Leicester-both Michelle  settled on the bar’s unique name after discussing traditional cob coaling with her husband Chris. 

“And I’ve always got into a many a row over what a bread roll should be called. It’s a a cob in Leicester and in the end  we decided on an honourable compromise and the name of the tune fitted the bill because of song’s connection to the area.”

The  song “We come a cob coalin’” was a firm favourite  sung by children in the run up to Bonfire Night.

The Cob and Coal is open Monday-Friday11am-5pm; Saturday 10am-5pm, closed Sunday.

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