MURIEL Lewis entered the packed church supported by her large family to Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever? to make her final goodbye.
Friends and family gathered at St Modwen’s Church today to celebrate the life of the 82-year-old popular landlady who died last week.
Motorcyclists, who frequented the former Punchbowl, in Green Street (formerly The Appleby) – once a popular haunt for bikes when Muriel was at the helm, turned up in their droves to pay their respects, along with regulars of her other pubs – The Star (now Bullet), The 76 Club and the Staffordshire Knot.
Reverend George Crossley spoke to the congregation saying: “I seem to be the wrong person to do this as I was the only one in Burton who hadn’t met Muriel.
“While most of you will know her as a landlady, she also had a career in nursing. It was while she was on the train coming back from Surrey where she was studying nursing that she had one of those moments which change your life forever. She was sharing a carriage with a young man. Nothing was said between them but when they both got off the young man offered to carry her bags.
“That led to their first date and were married for 43 years until Dougie died in 1995.”
The reverend also spoke of her threat to sons, Ian and Chris, that she would get a job at The Star to keep an eye on them
“With most mums that would have been an idle threat. But there was their mum behind the bar.”
He continued: “She seemed to maintain that matriarchal presence in all the bars she worked in. She kept an eye on the customers as well as her sons, and probably saved so many lives by telling people they had had enough to drink. She made sure that people kept a good night out as a good night out
“She was t-total apart from the odd drink at Christmas. She loved spending time with people, and was up for a laugh.
“She was a lady who made a difference.”
While her daughter-in-law Ruth read a poem, Muriel also thanked the congregation for their presence through her son.