A TOWN centre pub is enjoying a new lease of life thanks to new ownership.

The Turks Head, on Bondgate, in Darlington, had spent much of the year closed and without an owner.

But Mick Bradshaw seized on the opportunity to take the keys and hopes to return the pub to its former glory.

After opening the doors for the first time on Friday, Mick said he was overwhelmed with the immediate response from punters.

“It was absolutely great,” he said. “We went straight into the deep end by opening on a weekend and we were packed out.

“I hired a big screen for the England vs Scotland game and the response was amazing.”

The 43-year-old from Stokesley, North Yorkshire, says he always wanted to own his own pub but was waiting for the right place to come along.

He said: “I’m here to make a change and I want to make a difference. I took over the pub because it was run down and I didn’t want it to go to wreck and ruin.

“I heard rumours that it was being turned into a cafe and a restaurant, but I want to put it back on the map as a proper pub in Darlington.”

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Mick has worked in the pub trade for 23 years and also works as an entertainer, regularly DJing at venues throughout the region.

And despite admitting there will be challenges along the way he can’t wait to welcome more people through the doors.

He said: “I know everything about the pub trade and I needed to stand on my own two feet and try it myself.

While it should be of paramount importance to all pub owners, Mick is passionate about providing quality food and drink to the highest standards.

The initial response to the pubs offering has been so good that it even lead to one customer taking to social media to liken one of the pubs pints as “like a flock of angel’s dancing down your throat”.

“I want people to go away and tell their friends and family how good their experience was,” Mick added.

“We had people in last weekend saying it’s the best pint in Darlington.

“It’s getting there slowly, and there’s still a lot of work that needs doing, but I will make it worth it.”