08:40 Friday 27 December 2013

From barmaid to boss - Jo returns 30 years on

Written byHELEN KREFT

A LANDLADY has taken the helm of a village pub more than 30 years after she last stepped behind the same bar.

Jo Bucknall said she enjoyed the social atmosphere so much now that she is back where she belongs – behind the bar of The Red Lion, in Burton Road, Repton, this time as the landlady.

Former marketing manager Jo decided she was ready for a change and when she heard the pub needed a new boss, she found she couldn’t miss the opportunity.

She is now already seeing old customers coming back to enjoy a tipple.

“I worked there about 33 years ago when I was 22 as the landlords at the time, Alan and Jo Wright, were friends of mine, so I became a barmaid.”

When asked why she decided to come back to the pub trade, Jo said: “I have always done part-time barmaid work over the years and enjoyed it.

“I enjoy the social aspect. You get to have a laugh and you get to have fun.”

The pub reopened last week and Jo said: “It has gone really well.

“I have seen a lot of the old customers that I used to serve coming back into the pub.”

Jo believes the pub industry has changed since she first stepped behind the bar. She said: “There are more rules and regulations, and everything is tightened up.

“People don’t drink anywhere near as much as they did mainly because of the smoking ban and the drink-driving laws.”

The 55-year-old believes the pub is bucking the trend as pubs up and down the country close following the after-effects of the smoking ban and a change in people’s drinking lifestyle, as they buy more alcohol to drink at home from supermarkets.

She hopes her pub will provide something supermarkets can’t.

She said: “The Red Lion is a local, old-fashioned pub with good beer.”

Ms Bucknall is hoping to bring the pub into the heart of the community, organising and taking part in community events, saying: “I want to get it into the hub of the community, a place where people can find things out.”

Jo took over the Marston’s-owned pub after a temporary landlord moved out.

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