Royal Oak Ulley: Former Olympic diver set to re-open popular pub next week, closed for four years

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Former Olympic diver announces date for re-opening of popular pub between Sheffield and Rotherham

A former Olympic diver looks set to re-open a popular pub near Sheffield next week, four years after it closed down.

The Royal Oak, in Ulley, between Rotherham and Sheffield, closed in 2019. But now husband and wife Pete and Lesley Tomlinson are now planning to open the doors to customers again on Friday, December 15.

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Lesley was part of the Great Britain diving team in three successful Olympic games, competing under her maiden name of Lesley Ward in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, in Athens in 2000.

Pete and Lesley Tomlinson are re-opening the Royal Oak, UlleyPete and Lesley Tomlinson are re-opening the Royal Oak, Ulley
Pete and Lesley Tomlinson are re-opening the Royal Oak, Ulley | Pete and Lesley Tomlinson

She has 60 national titles under her belt from her time as diving from 10m, 3m and 1m boards, as well as doing synchronised diving with other members of the team.

She met Pete, who was working as a fitness trainer, while she was living in Sheffield training at Ponds Forge, where the diving team was based.

Now they are both looking forward to a switch in careers which sees them bring the well-known pub back. It will be the first pub they have run.

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She said: "It's been shut for years, We're looking forward to getting it open again. We're thrilled about it."

Lesley Tomlinson during her diving days, in the synchro. Picture: Steve Ellis, National WorldLesley Tomlinson during her diving days, in the synchro. Picture: Steve Ellis, National World
Lesley Tomlinson during her diving days, in the synchro. Picture: Steve Ellis, National World | National World

The couple had wanted to open a pub for some time, but wanted to wait until their son had grown up. He has now gone to university.

They are now putting together plans for events at the venue. Pete, who also runs a business restoring historic properties, said they were considering running a joke night, where people get to try their hand at stand-up.

"We're good at thinking out of the box," he said.

The couple have spent thousands on bringing the pub back into top condition for the re-opening, and are now putting the final touches in place.

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They plan to do meals at the Turn Shaw Road venue again, but will not be introducing food until after Christmas. Children will be allowed in the restaurant.

"We're just going to be a landlord and landlady who welcome people and think a bit outside the box," said Pete. "We've got plans in the pipeline. We're really excited about getting the pub open."

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