DROITWICH’S longest serving publicans have been given a prestigious award.
Tony Gardner, 81, and Jinny Gardner, 64, who run The Barley Mow in Hanbury Street, have been given the accolade by the pub’s owners Star Pubs and Bars.
The pair, who have more than 40 years in the licence trade, took over the pub in June 1997 when, operations director Paul Linton, said it was a ‘little-used and unloved local’.
They refurbished it and brought it into the 21st century, introducing home-cooked food.
The large, dog and family friendly pub also has a pool table, darts and a jukebox, shows live sports and hosts live music on weekend.
During their quarter of a century, they have helped raise over £20,000 for charities, including St Richard’s Hospice, the local fire service charity, Air Ambulance, and MacMillan Cancer Support.
They have also created over a 100 local jobs including for children of customers.
Tony said: “We’ve loved taking the pub from zero to a much-loved local.
“The moment we saw The Barley Mow we knew it was for us and could see its potential.
“Droitwich also captured our hearts as it is a pretty town, though it has grown enormously in the time we’ve been here.
“We have also enjoyed training up staff and letting them fly.
“One of our lads came for a year to learn the ropes of working in hospitality and went on to a management position in a local hotel.”
Before moving to Droitwich the couple ran a pub in Oxfordshire and, prior to that, Tony had his own window fitting business and
Jinny was a dance teacher. They both had jobs in pubs from a young age with Tony running his first pub aged just 19.
The pandemic proved challenging but has not put them off running The Barley Mow.
Jinny added: “We had friends with pubs and always worked behind the bar for other people.
“So we thought we might as well do it for ourselves.
“We’ve no regrets as we love what we do – being at the heart of the community and being involved with major milestones like christenings and weddings.”
She said it was wonderful three generations of some families now use the pub.
“It’s been a real pleasure growing up alongside our customers.”
Jinny said the hardest part was having to stay shut during the pandemic and it was so lovely to be open again.
The pub currently cannot offer food due to staff shortages but hopes to again before the end of the year.
As for retiring, the pair are not planning that any time soon.
“Thank you to all our regulars – old, new and ones no longer with us – for supporting us all these years.”
Tony and Jinny held a weekend of celebrations to mark their 25th anniversary at the pub, putting on live music a disco and karaoke for over 150 regulars.
Paul Linton, Star Pubs and Bars Regional Operations Director said:
“Tony and Jinny are consummate publicans and well deserving of this award. “They have given The Barley Mow their all, creating a fantastic local community pub.
“It is great news for those working and living in Droitwich that they have extended their lease of the pub and have no plans to retire.
“Cheers Tony and Jinny – and here’s to another many more happy years behind the bar.”