Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014 (NOT the Rich List): Dolly Saville, legendary barmaid

 

When she started working at the Red Lion Hotel King George VI was on the throne, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and Britain was at war with Nazi Germany. Some 74 years later, and despite having celebrated her 100th birthday, Dolly Saville is still pulling pints behind the same bar.

It is an achievement that reportedly makes her the world's oldest barmaid. She still works three shifts a week, having cut back at the venue in Wendover in Buckinghamshire from her normal six-hours a day, six-days a week work rota only when she turned 94

"I never thought I would be here this long but I've loved every minute of it," she said on her 100th birthday. "My family keeps asking if I want to stop but I have no plans to retire. My boss is lovely and if he asked me to work an extra shift I would say yes as he's been so kind to me."

When she was first approached by the manager of the hotel about the prospect of bar work she refused. Her husband had recently joined up in the RAF and Dolly was looking after their two children. However he persisted and she decided it would be worth a try.

"I said I thought I would give people the wrong change but I started to serve and I quite enjoyed it," she recalled. "I meet lovely people who come in here, and have a laugh with them."

 

She has served many famous faces during her time, including legendary footballer Sir Stanley Matthews, James Bond star Pierce Brosnan, actress Elizabeth Taylor, singer Vera Lynn and former Prime Minister Ted Heath.

Dolly has only ever taken two weeks' sick leave during her working life, and has been repaid for her loyalty by having the bar at the hotel named after her.

When she turned 100 in April, her birthday was celebrated by friends, family and colleagues at the Red Lion, with Dolly also receiving a letter from David Cameron.

The Red Lion's manager Martin Howard said the town should be "proud" of her. "You get people who have been coming in here for 50 to 60 years who basically come in to say hello to her," he said.

Read more - Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014

The full list of people who make life better for others
Tom Dowling, community journalist
Nikandre Kopcke, social entrepreneur
Carmel Allen and Josephine Drew, charity founders
Robert Williams, kindness giver
Martin Griffiths, surgeon/lecturer
Jean Bishop, buzzing fundraiser
Aneeta Prem, anti-slavery campaigner
Finally ... 10 household names who went the extra mile

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral