Life-long Sheffield United fan takes over historic Blades pub in memory of daughter
A life-long Sheffield United fan has taken over a historic Blades pub that was formerly forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic in memory of her daughter.
Carol Donaldson, 58, from Crystal Peaks, stepped in to take over The Railway Hotel on Bramall Lane after former tenants announced they would be leading the Blades pub with “immediate effect” due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
The retired nurse and life-long supporter, jointly runs the popular Facebook page ‘Blade2Blade’ for United fans with her friend, Julie Pratt.
Carol and Julie set up the online community group in memory of Julie’s brother and Carol’s daughter Tanya, who both died in 2009.
The 58-year-old who was handed the keys to the boozer on July 31, was inspired to take over the historic pub as a tribute to Tanya, who passed away from pneumonia.
She was 24-years-old when she died and suffered from an extremely rare condition, which was called ‘Donaldson’s Syndrome’ after her.
The condition caused her to stop growing, leaving her trapped in the mind and body of a 4-year-old.
The new landlady also tested positive for coronavirus in March earlier this year, explained how contracting the virus, coupled with the desire to carry on her daughter’s memory, inspired her to take over the pub.
"She was very loving, very pretty, gorgeous looking little girl and really happy”, she said.
"She had not seen no life when she passed away and when I got this Covid-19 I thought I'm going to do something different and something for me.
"I haven't got a lot of brains, but I've got a lot of love and I can put a lot of emotion in that place because I'm a blade through and through.
"I got to a stage where my life was just nothing when Tanya died, the grief was just unbearable.
"This pub is going to bring me a new life, because if not then I am just sat here sinking and I'm not that sort of person.
"I am going to make sure that pub is everything Tanya would have liked it to be.”
Tanya, who would have been celebrating her 36th birthday on Sunday, August 9, was told by doctors she would only live to two-years-old when she was born but defied the odds and managed nearly 25.
Carol is estimating to spend around £7,000 of her own money renovating The Railway after the upstairs ceiling collapsed.
She intends to hold weekly games, darts and curry nights when it hopefully reopens at the end of August.
"It is a real labour of love or I wouldn't be doing it otherwise", the 58-year-old added.
"It had just been a dump to be honest with you, people would come in and have a drink and be gone.
"Whereas I want people to come in and feel comfortable, I just want the community to feel proud of it.”
Blades fans have raised £470 through an online fundraising page to help the new landlady complete the renovation work.