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Editor's PicksFamilies87-year-old son of England’s previous oldest landlord now believed to be the oldest

87-year-old son of England’s previous oldest landlord now believed to be the oldest

This perky publican is thought the be the UK’s oldest – as he’s still pulling pints at the ripe old age of 87.

Staying sprightly runs in the family for pub landlord Frank Collins, as his mother Mabel made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in her late eighties for being England’s oldest and longest-serving landlady.

Frank took over the running of the Dog and Partridge Inn in Huddersfield, West Yorks., just before his mother passed away in 2001 at the age of 95.

Frank Collins, 87

Frank Collins, 87

And he’s determined to keep hold of the reins at the 18th century pub for as long as he can, saying: “I will continue to work while I am in good health.

“I don’t want to retire.

“As long as I am fit, I shall keep going. It keeps my mind busy.

“In my opinion, if the mind is healthy, the body will follow on.”

Incredibly, Frank, who spent two years in the navy from 1947-1949, runs two businesses – as he also owns a textile business called Frank Collins Textiles.

A typical day for him involves working at his textile business, coming home at 3pm for “tea and maybe a nap” and opening up the pub at 7pm.

He said: “I was brought up as a designer of clothes. I make travel rugs now. I love the therapeutic side of making things.”

Speaking about his mother, who he says had a good sense of humour, he said: “Someone once asked her what her favourite thing about working at the pub was and she replied: ‘When I stand at the door I get fresh wind from Blackpool’, much to the amusement of locals.”

Frank Collins, 87

Frank Collins, 87

His father Jack bought the pub, known to locals as Mabel’s, in 1956, but he died shortly after and Mabel took over.

At the time, a 27-year-old Frank helped out by pulling pints before he set up his own business.

Frank said: “My mother was 51 at the time. She had come from Holland, where she worked in pubs, and when she came over her it was her life dream to run one.”

Frank, who has never been married, inherited his 13 and 16-year-old nieces, now in their fifties, when his sister died.

Frank Collins, 87

Frank Collins, 87

After his mother died, Frank and one of his nieces scattered her ashes in the pub’s car park.

He said: “She would never fly. When she died, we decided that the ashes would be separated into two parts – one part for my niece and the other for me.

“I arranged for a guy who made rockets to send her ashes 500 feet into the sky above the pub. Two years later my niece did the same with hers.”

It has been a family pub before – with the Broadbent family holding the licence for 150 years.

Pub landlord Frank is still keeping traditions alive at the pub by using a plastic coin collector and a beer glass – instead of a till.

Frank said: “We once had Inland Revenue here and they asked me where our till rolls are and I said, ‘We only have toilet roll’, acting simple. They left thinking ‘silly old buggar’.

Frank Collins, 87, serving a pint at the Dog and Partridge near Huddersfield

Frank Collins, 87, serving a pint at the Dog and Partridge near Huddersfield

“I do trust people. I probably shouldn’t, but I do. I have no reason to believe anyone would screw me and if they did they wouldn’t make a lot because I don’t make a lot.”

The 18th-century pub is filled with old photographs and memorabilia including a timeline of the pub’s ownership, a copy of one of the original owners’ will and four glass-fronted cabinets filled with Corgi model buses.

The experienced pint puller even works five nights a week at the Dog and Partridge Inn as he refuses to let his age hold him back.

He said: “It is no problem. In 10 years, I might have a different answer. My mother lived to nearly 96 so I may outstrip her.”

But he admitted that it helps that a select amount of regulars serve themselves.

He said: “I have quite a few customers who love to pull their own pints. There’s about 10 of them.”

Memorabilia at the Dog and Partridge near Huddersfield, Yorks

Memorabilia at the Dog and Partridge near Huddersfield, Yorks

Frank even says he brings anyone who doesn’t know how to pull a pint behind the bar to teach them.

He said: “Young ladies in particular love learning how to pull pints and I’m more than happy to show them how it’s done.”

Today (Fri), the pub had 150 guests and a 1959 vintage bus in attendance for a wake for its chief barman, Steve Johnson, who died of cancer aged 62.

Steve, a retired railway worker, had worked at the pub on and off for 35 years.

Frank, who had been friends with Steve for 40 years and says he was like his son, said: “I visited him in hospital before he died and he said I want a nice, simple funeral. I said no way.”

 

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