Delighted drinkers at Newcastle boozers were surprised with free pints after musician Paul Heaton put £1,000 bar tabs down at two locals to celebrate his 60th birthday.
The Beautiful South and Housemartins singer gifted 60 pubs across the UK and Ireland with free drinks on Monday to celebrate his milestone birthday, with The Tanners Arms on Byker Bridge and The Freetrade Inn, Ouseburn, both handpicked as watering holes fit for the occasion.
Heaton had originally planned to perform at 60 pubs on a bicycle tour, but after the pandemic caused recording delays, he had to come up with something else. And on Sunday, he announced via his official Facebook channel that select bars across the nation would be serving drinks courtesy of him - also revealing a full list of participating vendors.
Read more: Pop star Paul Heaton putting cash behind bars around UK for big birthday - and two are in Newcastle
In a post on his Facebook page, Paul wrote: "Both regulars and yourselves can enjoy a birthday drink on me (until the money runs out, or the bar runs dry!).
"The hope is to bring people together on the day, whilst recognising that many folk who bought my records or showed me support over the years, could do with a wee party, as we come out of Covid and hit potential financial struggles.
"If there’s one near you please head over on Monday, show your support and raise a toast to me on my birthday!"
Assistant manager at The Tanners Arms, Kyle Atkinson, said: "Paul Heaton, absolute top gadgie, has decided to put a grand behind the bar of 60 pubs in the UK to celebrate his 60th birthday, and us thankfully and the Free Trade, which is another great pub near the Ouseburn have been selected. Thanks Paul, absolutely amazing.
"We've got some punters in now enjoying some birthday pints on Paul."
He added: "We've had people basically just passing in. Some people - Paul Heaton fans coming in because they've heard about it are coming in to celebrate Paul's birthday. Some people are just random passers by or regulars of ours who have supported us, and are basically just enjoying free pints.
"It's been a bit of a nice surprise you know?"
One of those in attendance, enjoying the pints and atmosphere was Alan Bird - who had popped down to The Tanners to make the most of the occasion.
Speaking to ChronicleLive, he said: "I'm enjoying a pint on Paul Heaton's pocket - who has been a legend of the music industry for decades now. I was first exposed to The Housemartins in the late 80s - my brother said 'this is good stuff' and I've loved them ever since.
"Now That's What I Call Quite Good is an album that everyone should seek out, but also The Beautiful South have produced some of the perfect pop moments over the last 40 years. Something like A Little Time, Old Red Eyes is Back is appropriate for today.
"If you've never heard of The Beautiful South or The Housemartins, you should get into them but you should also today, raise a glass to Mr Paul Heaton - who is a genius of the music industry."
Did you head out and raise a toast to Paul today? Let us know in the comments.