‘I’ve poured over three million drinks in pubs in Birmingham - they say I’m one of Britain’s oldest barmaids’

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We meet Birmingham barmaid Ann Wilson who has poured over three million drinks at local pubs and, aged 82, she is one of Britain’s oldest in the trade

She's one of Britain’s oldest barmaids and Brummie Ann Wilson has vowed to carry on pulling pints and kick out rowdy revellers - despite being 82.

Ann has worked in pubs in Birmingham for 60 years and has poured over three million drinks during that time. Straight-talking Ann started working in bars in 1964 as a means to buy a new fridge for her family but has been serving thirsty punters ever since.

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The great gran-of-four started working for The Old Yewtree in Witton before moving onto the Journey’s End pub in Yardley in 1974 where she still works. She reckons she’s seen 12 bosses come and go in her 40 years at the popular boozer, but says her longevity is thanks to her dedication to the role.

Despite her age she still works hours a week over two days and says she has no plans to slow down as it’s "in her blood". Ann said: “I went to work to buy a fridge as silly as it sounds. Two children, one man's working wage.

"So I thought I’d work in the pubs at night. Once it gets in your blood, it can’t get out. I started March 1964, in the old Yewtree Birmingham. Then a straight transfer to the Journeys End in 1974. When I first went to work, there were only two jobs married women with kids could do. Either working in a school or working in the evenings.

"I was brought up with pubs, it was in my blood. My mum and sister used to work in a pub. I was used to going with them when I was younger. It’s a trade that you need to like, you can’t wake up in the morning and not want to do it.

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"The person walking through the door is the most important. You make their day by greeting them. I’m a face-to-face person. It goes together. If you give them a good pint and a nice meal, they’re going to remember and come back. Most of my customers are regulars.”

Ann Wilson, 82, marks 50 years of pulling pints in Birmingham and is thought to be one of the oldest barmaids in BritainAnn Wilson, 82, marks 50 years of pulling pints in Birmingham and is thought to be one of the oldest barmaids in Britain
Ann Wilson, 82, marks 50 years of pulling pints in Birmingham and is thought to be one of the oldest barmaids in Britain

Get a bespoke headline round-up, as well as breaking updates, when you sign up to BirminghamWorld’s free emails Her much-loved antics have earned her the nickname ‘Nanny Anny’ by customers who can’t live without her pint-pulling. Despite being 82, the elderly barmaid said she's no pushover and will quite happily bar rowdy customers if need be.

Celebrating her 50 years behind the bar, Ann said: “I’ve always been here backing whatever management’s come in and putting them right. Every boss that has come here has inherited me.

"So I must be doing the job right. I’ve seen teenagers become engaged, get married, have children and children who are now grandparents, so we’re all family. No mean things has ever happened in the journeys because we don’t let it happen.

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"They get once chance, they do it twice and they don’t come back. They are the losers, not us. Just be kind to everybody. At least once a day tell somebody that you love them as you don’t know what’s around the corner.”

She added: “I’ve got the nickname of ‘Nanny Anny’. A little boy came in and called me. It’s stuck since then, roughly five years. I like it, it keeps you fit. When I was younger I was doing six days a week. It’s slowed down now but I can still do it. It’s a job that I can enjoy that much.

“Every new boss that has come here has inherited me. I must be doing something right to stay in a job. There must be about 10 or 12 bosses since I started. A lot of the younger lads are in the memory books.

“You’ve got to like it, you’ve got to enjoy the job and coming to work in the service industry. From what I’ve been told with M and B I’m the oldest member of staff in the sizzling group."

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Ann, whose husband Leslie died last year, says she has no plans to hang up her barmaid's apron. She added: “I do two days a week, Thursday and Friday. That’s eight hours a week 12-4. My husband passed away last year and I still class myself as a couple. I wouldn’t want to be at home and sitting on my own.

“I used to work six mornings and two nights but I never worked Sunday. I left school at 15 and worked at a Co-op in the kitchen, then went on the floor.”

Journey's End assistant manager Jo Lees said: "She makes a fuss out of us so we decided on a bingo day, which is one of her days, that we will make a fuss for her and celebrate her. She's extremely popular and we all love her to bits."

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