A RACE by builders to spend European cash and get a club open by Christmas and a pub with beer at 50p a pint gave drinkers in Millom and Barrow plenty of good reasons to raise their festive glasses and say cheers.

The Mail, on Thursday,December 14 in 2000, noted: "Beer lovers in Barrow were in heaven this week when they were dished up pints of their favourite brew - for just 50p.

"Regulars at the Furness Railway pub in Abbey Road crammed in to take advantage of the offer.

"It meant licensee Michelle Straathof, shift manager Alan Leech and the rest of their staff were rushed off their feet all morning during the 50p bonanza.

"The pub soon sold out of its cheap 22 gallons of Theakstons bitter.

"The promotion was held to celebrate pub company Wethersoon's 21st birthday and helped bring a party atmosphere to the pub.

"The celebrations continued through the day with a host of offers on other beers and wines at discount prices."

In December 1998 the front of the Workies, the Willow and Reflections were given a new lease of life when European money became available through Copeland Borough Council.

Workies Club Partner Larry Mackie told the Mail on December 24 that £96,000 had been spent on improvements,including the European grant, and workmen had to meet strict deadlines.

He said: "It took 54days to complete the work and at the most we had 16 people working on it at one stage, with normally about seven or eight workers every day.

"Without the grants the work could not have got done."

Just before Christmas in1999, the new faces behind the bar at the Queen's Arms, on Rawlinson Street,Barrow, were Pete Rathbone and partner Susan Gardner.

Pete, who had  played drums with several bands, was keen to build up the pub's live music reputation.

Thursday would be the night for new bands, with indie and rock bands on Friday, a club night on Saturday and jazz and blues on Sunday.

The Mail, on January 13 in2000, noted: "After success with local bands Hash and Thrash and NDE, Pete went on and won a place at the prestigious Powerhouse Music School in London.

"He decided to return to the area and now drums for glamrockers Gobstopper and Absolute Proof."