A pub that has been named in honour of Hemel Hempstead’s own Olympic hero was officially opened yesterday.
The Pommel Horse, which was named by local residents as a tribute to gymnast Max Whitlock, is based on the new Jarman Square complex and has created around 50 full and part-time jobs, bucking the trend of struggling pubs that are closing their doors on a weekly basis up and down the country.
Pub company the Hungry Horse launched an appeal to find a local hero to open the pub and a number of nominations were received.
Christians Against Poverty’s Hemel Hempstead leader Owen Cooper was selected to cut the ceremonial ribbon at the official opening on Tuesday at 11am.
He was nominated for the honour by members of the public who described him as someone who works tirelessly and compassionately to help those in tough financial situations.
Manager of the pub Hannah May said; “The people of Hemel are obviously very proud of Max Whitlock so we hope that they like our tribute to him both in the pub name and the picture inside.
“He is obviously welcome at the Pommel Horse anytime.”
The venue features a wall inside that is covered with images that represent Hemel Hempstead including the Magic Roundabout and, on another wall, a picture Max Whitlock hangs proudly.
There are also leather booth seating areas complete with their own televisions.
Business director for Hungry Horse Marc McGuigan said: “I am confident that the Pommel Horse is going to be a great addition to Hemel Hempstead. Our pubs are very welcoming and atmospheric, with something on offer for everyone.”
Since Christmas a range of major restaurants including Chiquito, Nandos, Coast to Coast and Frankie and Benny’s, have opened at the new Jarman Square complex.
Previously known as Jarman Park the rundown site had been home to a variety of drinking and entertainment venues and was well known for booze fuelled trouble from punters spilling out of nightclubs and bars.
Nightspots Lava and Ignite closed their doors in 2011 because they were losing money with party bar JJs and Hotshots bowling alley also shutting shop shortly after.
Along with the new eateries under the £4 million renovation there is also a cinema, gym and newly refurbished ice skating rink.