Thirty years ago Cavan man Gary Gilchrist was brought in to run The Brookhouse by his best friend John Sweeney.
Gary Gilchrist, of Co. Cavan, has managed The Brookhouse in Middlesex since 1986 after moving from north London’s famous Archway Tavern. He, and his best friend John Sweeney say they took the biggest gamble of their lives to take over one of the largest pubs in Hayes that had been previously closed for a couple of years.
Gary says he always knew he was in good hands as John Sweeney was best man at his wedding and Gary always listens to John.
In that time, he says, he has raised thousands of pounds for charity and has consistently supported his local GAA club, St Claret’s. Gary says none of this would have been possible without the continuous support over 30 years of his bank manager at AIB, Michael O’Mahony, whom he affectionately refers to as “AIB’s Commander in Chief ”.
To celebrate three decades in his current role, Gary is inviting customers – old and new – to an afternoon of music and games including a bouncy castle, magician, face painting and karaoke and, of course, a barbeque. There will be live music in the evening as two bands – one tribute, one Irish – perform in the bars.
Gary’s head barman Sean Leddy, who has been with him for those 30 years, will be serving drinks, and it is hoped that the area’s two local MPs, Boris Johnson and John McDonnell, will drop in.
Gary, who has hosted several charity fundraisers, is using the 30th anniversary night to raise funds for a charity which helps combat a rare heart disease. Tara Brown, who works at the pub, lost her son, Dylan, to Mitochondrial Disorder and Cardiomyopathy.
Gary has promised that all money raised on the day will go to that charity in Dylan’s memory. He has set the pub, and its customers a target and hopes to raise between £5,000 and £10,000.
The Brookhouse team have won national awards for fundraising and hope to comfortably meet their target.
Says Gary of the past thirty years: “I’ve seen generations come and go. Some of my original younger customers have now grown up and have children of their own so I wanted to throw a day that caters for everyone.
We’ve had to survive and adapt to the changes while pubs all around us have closed down.
“People can buy cheap beer from the supermarket, there’s a smoking ban in pubs, breweries have increased rent prices – it’s not easy.
“But we’ve introduced live music and things like that. We’ve been going for 30 years so we must be doing something right.”
The Brookhouse 240 Kingshill Ave, Hayes, Middx UB4 8BZ
Saturday 30 July from 2pm
Bouncy Castle • Face Painting • Magician • BBQ • Childrens’ Karaoke
Music by Frank & Dean