New venue is right on cue

Lee, Brenda and David Stokoe in the newly opened function suite at the former Castletown Snooker Club, now named Supa

Lee, Brenda and David Stokoe in the newly opened function suite at the former Castletown Snooker Club, now named Supa

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A SNOOKER club has been revamped into a community venue in a family’s bid to clean up Castletown’s nightlife.

Brenda Stokoe and sons David and Lee have spent tens of thousands of pounds and nine weeks converting their snooker room at Castletown Snooker Club into a function suite, redubbing the venue The Supa.

The mother-and-sons team said snooker playing was dying off and they wanted to encourage older people to come out in their community at night again after years of antisocial behaviour dogged the area.

“To be honest, there’s nothing in Castletown now – the inn’s closed, the working men’s club next door’s closed,” said Lee.

“People don’t even come out now. They terrified because of this, that and the other that’s gone on, and that’s what we want to change.

“We want to bring all the community back out in Castletown.”

Lee said the family had spent seven years improving the club and had been tough on “riff raff,” with a “barred board” set up to keep out troublemakers.

“We got 10 on there and we haven’t got anymore,” he said. “In fairness, it was over Christmas and it was people who didn’t usually come in. But it’s worked. The young people who do come in here show respect – some of them have even been out to buy suits.”

David said the bar and gym – used for Brazilian jujitsu – had been slowly revamped over the years and the snooker room upstairs was the final refurbishment project.

David said: “Snooker’s just died off. People haven’t got time to play snooker. The only time it got busy was when it was on TV.”

The last game of snooker took place at the club, originally Castletown’s miners’ welfare hall, nine weeks ago before work began to convert the upstairs snooker room into a function suite, complete with lighting system, DJ stand and a large screen for football and bingo.

The Stokoes also plan to run a disco for young people as well as catering for weddings, christenings and funerals, and say they have already taken bookings.

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of interest we’ve had,” said Lee. “We had loads up people up yesterday to have a look. We said people could have a free drink while we were bringing things up.”

The Stokoes have had the suspended ceiling removed to reveal the immaculate curved ceiling, which older customers could remember from the days the suite was a dance hall hosting “PG Tips” entertainment events.

While work was being carried out, the family also found dentist appointment cards from the days the building was used as a surgery.

“The other thing we found was a packet of Woodbine’s with one cigarette left in,” said Lee.

Brenda added: “This building’s been used for all sorts over the years. People used to get their ration cards here, and it was the morgue for bodies if something happened at the pit.”

Work is now under way to regenerate Castletown and the Stokoes hope to benefit from improvements in the area, including the new housing estates.

The Supa held its opening night on Saturday.