World's oldest barmaid dies aged 100: Dolly Saville pulled pints for 74 years

The great-great grandmother had worked behind the bar at the Red Lion Hotel since before the Second World War

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The Independent Online

The world’s oldest barmaid has died less than a year after celebrating her 100 birthday in the pub she worked in for 74 years.

Dolly Saville, who died earlier this week on 25 February, first started pulling pints in 1940 at the Red Lion Hotel in Wendover, Buckinghamshire, before World War Two.

Mrs Saville, who was born on 19 April 1914, and is thought to have been the world’s oldest barmaid, was initially apprehensive about working in the pub.

"I said I thought I would give people the wrong change, but I started to serve and I quite enjoyed it," she told the BBC last year while celebrating her 100 birthday at the Fuller’s pub.

When she started work a pint cost just eight pence, but despite the changing times, Mrs Saville always insisted on working.

“I love my work and I love the people, it keeps me going and it's better than sitting around,” she told the Daily Mail last year. In the weeks running up to her death she had remained on the payroll, but had not done her usual shifts.

“I never thought I would be here this long, but I've loved every minute of it. My family keeps asking if I want to stop, but I have no plans to retire.”

During her time behind the bar Mrs Saville served former Prime Minister Edward Heath ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyne, and footballer Sir Stanley Matthews.

Joanthan Swaine, managing director of Fuller’s Inns, said: “[Dolly was] a true asset to the Red Lion and Fuller's alike.

"Our thoughts are with Dolly's family, her colleagues and indeed her faithful customers at this difficult time," Mr Swaine told the BBC.

Born in Eton, Berkshire, Mrs Saville left school and 14 and went to work as a housemaid before marrying her husband in her late teens. The couple had two children together.

She leaves behind three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.