Fundraiser Speedomick accepts apology from pub that 'threw him out'

January 08, 2020

A pub has apologised to a popular fundraiser who was thrown out of their premises while on a 1000-mile charity walk wearing little more than his swimming trunks.

Michael Cullen, known as Speedomick, was asked to leave the Royal Hotel in Bolton-le-Sands after he popped in to use the toilet in his trademark 'speedos', woolly hat and scarf.

There was an immediate outcry on social media as Mick is well-known across the country for his charity work.

People threatened to boycott the pub and left bad reviews on its Facebook page, which was then taken down.

But Punch Pubs, owners of the Royal, have since contacted Mick and donated £1,000 to his fund.

"At Punch Pubs & Co we are proud to run pubs that are hubs of the community," said a spokesman.

"We are disappointed with what has happened and, while wholly unintended, we know we didn't get it right.

"We have reached out to Speedomick to make amends and support him on his great cause.

"Speedomick we wish you luck on your journey and look forward to welcoming you in one of our Punch Pubs soon."

Mick, who is raising money for lonely and isolated people on his walk from John O'Groats to Lands End, accepted the apology.

Speaking exclusively to Beyond Radio's 'The Resident' show on Tuesday, Mick said it was "no biggie".

"It's all right, it hasn't put a dampener on things," he said.

"He must have been having a bad day. We all have bad days."

Later, he posted on his Facebook: "We all make mistakes and god knows I've made a few many a time.

"They have phoned me up personally to apologise and put a statement out to so let’s move on and keep this journey positive.

"You may pass Royal Hotel of Bolton-le-sands. Go in peace."

It is understood a staff member asked Mick to leave the pub through a side door after he'd used the toilets on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier he'd asked Mick to turn down the volume on his music player, which he agreed to.

After reinstating their Facebook page, the Royal posted this statement.

"Firstly, if we caused any offence to any of our customers including Speedo Mick, it was entirely unintentional and the result of a complete misunderstanding.

"Rightly or wrongly, none of our staff were aware of who Mick is or indeed the fantastic work for charity that he undertakes in a personal capacity. As a business we love supporting great causes and indeed discretely support a number of small charities and local causes that are close to our hearts.

"Yesterday, when Mick arrived into the pub on a quiet January afternoon, bouncing around to a hand held boom box and dressed only in speedos, you can understand why the staff were taken aback and made a quick judgment call, politely asking him to leave. It was by no means clear he was undertaking charity work. We don’t always get it right, but we do only ever act in in what we believe to be the best interests of our customers.

"We want only to move forward and wish Mick every success with the remainder of his journey. Once again, we apologise whole heartedly for any misunderstanding or upset caused."

The fundraising legend was passing through the Lancaster and Morecambe district on Tuesday, wearing the colours of his beloved Everton Football Club, as part of his seven-week trek where he is walking the equivalent of a marathon every day.

He told Beyond Radio that the pub incident was very much a one-off and he was mostly welcomed by local people with open arms.

"I have to keep moving when I'm walking because if I stop, I get cold very quickly," he said.

"But it's OK if people stop me for photographs. As well as raising money, there's a lot of smiles being raised as well."

Mick began his walk on December 6 for 'Leave the Light On', a group that runs community projects to help disadvantaged young people to overcome isolation.

He has raised more than £220,000 for various good causes since first becoming 'Speedomick' when he swam the English Channel for charity five years ago.

The genial Scouser is a regular at football matches all over the UK wearing his trademark swimwear in all weathers.

He was nominated for the Daily Mirror Pride of Sport awards in 2019.

You can hear our full interview with Speedomick here just after the one hour mark.

Photo courtesy of Zoe Makemson.