Meet the landlady: Lauren Vokes

Portsmouth City Council leader Cllr Donna Jones

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LAUREN enjoys pulling the pints and greeting the locals – but it’s a far cry from her previous ambition of being a veterinary nurse.

The 22-year-old first began working at The Harvest Home the week she turned 18.

At the time, family friend Kerry Hampton, 46, was in charge of the Copnor pub.

Lauren was employed as a barmaid but she juggled studying a veterinary nurse course at South Downs College.

She said: ‘I started to work quite a few hours at the pub, and the more I did the more I really enjoyed it.

‘Towards the end of my course I began to think how gutted I would feel if I had to give up working at The Harvest Home.

‘So I made the decision to stop pursuing my veterinary career.

‘I was beginning to realise how hard it was to get in the field anyway.’

Fate played into Lauren’s hands as Kerry decided to hand over the reins to Lauren and her mum Natalie in 2007.

Now Lauren enjoys being the sole person in charge - alongside her two dogs Dolly and Daisy.

She said: ‘People are surprised at my age, but then I’ve always felt I’ve looked older than I am.

‘It’s one of those jobs which is non-stop. You never really get away from it because if you go upstairs there’s always someone who calls you because they need your help at the bar.’

Lauren’s grandad, Martin Parker, 55, from Winchester, said: ‘Lauren has done a brilliant job since she took over running it here. The pub has a good customer base. It’s selective but that’s what makes it a great pub.

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