All hands to the pumps for 30 year celebration party

Pubs up and down the country may be closing at a rate of 28 per week but one Bexhill landlady is bucking the trend celebrating 30 years at local watering hole The Sportsman, and plans to continue for many years to come.

Pamela Emerson, 66, moved to Bexhill in 1975 with her then husband Roger after they left the Royal Navy. They ran the Wilton Court, Wilton Road, for 7 years followed by the Queens Head in Bell Hill - which was demolished 2 years later to make way for the by-pass.

Pamela has been the owner and licensee of The Sportsman in Sackville road since 1984 and said she plans to continue as long as she is in good health, adding: “It’s hard work but it’s rewarding. Too many pubs nowadays have no atmosphere and many put managers in to run them and it’s just a job to them. If its your own pub you work at it.”

Pamela said there’s no trick of the trade but a successful pub is down to good real ales and building relationships with staff and customers. “My staff are very good. I look after them and they look after me and I could write a book on my regulars!”

Many of Pamela’s regulars were happy to say why they enjoyed the Sportsman so much. Comments included: “There’s always a good atmosphere and that’s why we make so many friends” and: “You always get a good pint”. One visiting Irishman said he had “The best pint of Guinness since leaving Ireland.”

Pamela added: “You have to be cheerful even if you don’t want to be! It’s not a job - it’s a way of life.”

An invitation only party celebrating Pamela’s 30 year anniversary is planned for this Saturday.