HARD-WORKING landlady Caroline West began life at The Middlecroft as a single mum.
But she said the pressures have been made easier because customers and staff have taken well to her daughter Chloe, 10.
And Caroline’s new partner, Paul, 42, whom she met last month, is also supportive of everything she does. Her love affair with The Middlecroft began when she began as a barmaid there when she was 18.
‘My dad Jim spotted an advert for job and said to me I should go for it,’ Caroline said.
‘I took to the place and made a lot of friends.’
Then after getting married and giving birth to Chloe, Caroline took time out of the pub trade and spent six years working at Asda in Gosport.
After the marriage broke down she decided it was time to try something new.
And after walking back through the doors of The Middlecroft as a customer one day she knew what to do next.
‘The owner at the bar told me they were looking to sell the place and I knew right there and then that I needed to take it,’ Caroline said.
‘My heart is with The Middlecroft.
‘Becoming the landlady here has given my life a purpose and I feel like I’ve made a good career.
‘It’s nice because all the customers that I used to be friends with are still here.
Caroline, who grew up in Hastings Avenue, Brockhurst, said: ‘I love my job.’
She added: ‘I have the lease until 2032 and in 10 years’ time it would be lovely to see my daughter take over so I can take a step back.
‘If she doesn’t want to do that though then I’m more than happy to carry on.’
The News’ Love Your Local campaign celebrates all that is good about local community pubs.
We believe they are an essential hub for residents and that communities suffer when they shut down.
We want you to tell us what’s great about your local. Let us know and we will feature the best ones in The News.
We will be urging people to support community pubs and we’ll be reporting on events and activities to show how you can help.
And we’re calling on councils to adopt policies that protect local pubs.
If you love your local, contact reporter Miles O’Leary on (023) 9262 2169 or email firstname.lastname@example.org