Congratulations are in order for 83-year-old Jean Thompson, who is celebrating 40 years at The Sea View pub in Whittle-le-Woods – and a total of 60 years as a landlady.
Jean, who was brought up in Chorley and visited the pub as a child, ran the pub with her husband Frank, who died earlier this year, and has now passed on the beer baton to her son, Lee.
She said that she always knew this was the pub for her and can still to be found every lunchtime, seven days a week helping out behind the bar.
She raised her two sons at the pub instilling her passion for pubs in Lee.
Jean said: “My auntie lived in a cottage in Whittle, so we came here a lot. My dad used to play dominoes in what was then the snug, while I played in the fields outside.
“You used to be able to see Blackpool Tower from the pub back then, so he told me to say to people in Chorley that we’d been to Blackpool for the day.
“Frank and I also lived in Watkins Road when we first married aged 21. We wanted The Sea View back then but didn’t have the experience.
“So, we ran pubs in Preston first, which means I’ve been working in pubs for 60 years.”
When Jean and Frank took over The Sea View, Grease and Saturday Night Fever had been in cinemas and Argentina had won the FIFA World Cup.
Jean added: “The Sea View was my dream pub because I had so many memories of it and knew the people all around. When we took it on we had a cabin selling coffee and dinners for the workmen who were building the housing. Now we do the same for people living in the houses.
“Generations of locals have used the pub over the years. I notice when I go to the hospital I see the children who came to the pub all grown up now.
“They always say ‘hello Jean’.”
She said that she “knows everyone locally and that to her, customers are more like friends, so it’s a blessing to be able to carry on working even aged 83.
A favourite with locals for many years, The Sea View has evolved over the years with Frank and Jean building a function room which is used by the WI, Chorley Rotary Club, the local golf club, and swimming and fishing clubs.
Today, as well as the weekly pub quiz, The Sea View hosts a number of events which make it a focal point of the community including a bonfire festival on November 5 with a fireworks display and barbecue, a bank holiday beer festival and gin and fizz festivals in the summer.
As for the future, it’s business as usual for Jean, who said: “I retire five times a year and come back the day after every time!”
Lee, who took over the helm 12 years ago, said: “I’m really proud of my parents and the fantastic pub they’ve created. My mother encapsulates what makes the Sea View special – great service and warm and welcoming smile.
“I’ve taken up the baton now and want to continue to keep The Sea View at the heart of the community for many years to come.”
Tracy Bickerdike, business development manager for Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Jean and Frank have created a wonderful pub, which has stood the test of time and is much loved locally.
“This is down to their and Lee’s ability to move with the times.
“We wanted to mark this major milestone for Jean.
"Sadly, Frank isn’t with us, but we thought it only fitting that he should be commemorated too.
“Well done Jean, and also Lee who has spent 16 years himself working behind the bar at The Sea View.”