Meet the landlady: The Mars - Janice Ward

Janice Ward
Janice Ward

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THE Mars has been part of Janice Ward’s life for as long as she can remember.

Her earliest memories are of the hustle and bustle of market days when the traders from nearby Charlotte Street would come in and drink.

Her father, Les, also used to own the long-closed Egremont Pub, which is now The Roberts Centre, just down the road in Crasswell Street.

She remembers some of the punters bringing their horses in with them for a drink.

And Arundel Street School was just a few yards away – where Tesco now stands.

The 49-year-old, of Hilsea, said: ‘I’ve been in and around this pub my whole life.

‘My sister Michelle was actually born upstairs.

‘It all seemed to revolve around families.

‘We had great celebrations over the years, for the Jubilee for example.

‘And no matter what I’ve done for a living I’ve always worked in the pub to help out.’

When she left school she trained to make leather coats and eventually opened her own shop.

But when her mother, Shirley, died 13 years ago she inherited the pub and took it on full-time.

Now she is joined behind the bar by the third generation of her family, 20-year-old daughter, Sharni.

Pubs are in the family blood with sister Michelle owning the Jameson Arms, in Church Path, and brother, John, running The Phoenix, in Torrington Road, Copnor.

Janice added: ‘It’s so sad to see so many of the old pubs closing down.

‘I think we deserve more help because we play a central role in the community.’