BARNSLEY Boomerang Anthony Youel will celebrate his 50th birthday on the ultimate ‘day trip’ – to spend just three hours in Barnsley...Australia!
Then he’s zooming back to South Yorkshire.
The self-confessed barmy barman will travel 21,000 miles, including 45 hours in the air, on a £1,200 round trip.
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Anthony’s South Yorkshire pub is The Monkey in Thurgoland, just five miles from the original Barnsley.
But instead of toasting his half century there he’s off down-under, via Abu Dhabi and Sydney, to Barnsley, in New South Wales.
He admits family, friends and pub regulars think he’s crazy.
The married father-of-two, who is going alone, decided on the quirky trip after becoming fascinated to know more about the Aussie outback township which was established in 1829 and took its name from the former pit town.
And Anthony’s always wanted to visit Australia since he saw it in the 1971 Jenny Agutter film, Walkabout.
Not that he’s planning a long walkabout of his own. He reckons he can see all the Oz town has to offer in just three hours. It’s less than a mile square and has a population of fewer than 2,000 people.
He is taking a letter offering civic greetings from Barnsley Mayor Karen Dyson and a House Of Lords tea-towel gift from Lord Mason of Barnsley, the town’s former Northern Ireland Secretary Roy Mason. Anthony’s also hoping to form a twin-town link with a pub out there.
He has a two-day wait for his flight back so will spend the weekend with friends before leaving Sydney on his 50th birthday.
Anthony, who has only had four weeks holiday in 25 years, says he needs to dash back to help host a popular Granville Clarke Fireside Poetry Hour at the pub on Wednesday, June 29. The event attracts around 40 regulars and he doesn’t want to let them down by cancelling it.
He said: “I know it sounds crazy and I might be barmy, but it’s the way I want to celebrate my 50th birthday – with a visit to Barnsley in Australia. I’m expecting to see it all in three hours so I guess it’s the ultimate day trip.
“The way my flights have worked out I will actually be flying home on my birthday. It might not be everyone’s ideal way to celebrate their 50th, up in the air on a flight back from Australia, but it’s different. I’m going to ask them all to sing happy birthday to me.
“I’ve only had four weeks holiday in 25 years because I’ve worked for myself. I had a grocery shop and I’ve had the pub for 12 years. So I haven’t been able to find the time.”