DESPITE pubs being closed Chester's longest serving landlord was still determined to celebrate England's Patron Saint on what should have been one of busiest days of the year at his well known city centre pub.

Mike Mercer, landlord of The Albion Inn, who has been in self isolation with his wife Christina at the pub since the Government announced measures which forced them to shut the doors of their watering hole until further notice, was determined that one the most important days in the pub's calendar, St George's Day, should not be forgotten.

Mike, who in his own words has 'been confined to Barracks' for about two months decided that although the pub could not host its usual St George's Day celebrations, he would still mark the day yesterday by hanging his St George's Cross flag from the pub and raising a celebratory toast to England's Patron Saint from one of the upstairs windows of the pub.

The pub would usually host traditional Morris Dancing in the street, performed by The City of Chester Morris Men and their guests, Kinnerton Morris and the Mersey Morris Men from Liverpool.

Now in his 50th year as licensee and Chester's longest serving landlord, Mr Mercer, a former Radio Officer with the Merchant Navy said: "It is very sad that we are unable to hold our St George's Day celebrations this year, Chester Morris Men are unable to enjoy a dance, a few pints and the traditional sing-along with their guests, the Kinnerton Morris Men and Mersey Morris Men but we are delighted that they have been sending messages of support to Christina and myself here at The Albion to mark the day."

Although Mike has announced that he will be retiring and leaving the Albion at some point in the future, those plans are now on hold due to the lockdown. Mike is determined however that the pub will celebrate the end of the virus outbreak once restrictions have been lifted.

He said: "Once restrictions are lifted and we can re-open, there will be festive dinner concerts to celebrate the end of the virus lockdown, to include performances by London soprano Patricia Hammond and local star Matt Baker plus the 20s, 30s, swing nights with the Albion Jazz legends." said Mike.

Mike's wife Christina said: "We are missing the Albion’s wonderful customers and its visitors but are glad that everyone is doing the right thing, staying home and keeping safe. We look foward to welcoming everyone again as soon as we are permitted to re-open."