Portsmouth D-Day veteran John Jenkins opens his local pub after £150,000 refurbishment
Speaking at D-Day commemoration events has been thirsty work for 99-year-old veteran John Jenkins – and now he can enjoy a drink at his local pub after declaring it open following a refurbishment.
John, who read a speech at the national D-Day 75 commemoration event on Southsea Common, opened the Good Companion in Eastern Road, Milton, after it has been closed for two weeks for a £150,000 refurbishment.
However, anyone keen to buy John a pint to thank him for his service will find he has swapped lager for fruit juice.
He said: ‘I have my J2Os.
‘I try to keep myself fairly fit – at 99, I’m not doing too bad am I?’
John described the pub’s the new look as ‘remarkable,’ with the interior of the pub redecorated and an improved garden area featuring new patio heaters.
He said: ‘It’s remarkable – it looks more spacious.
‘I moved into a flat 67 years ago a couple hundred of yards away – so if the wife and I ever wanted a meal or drink out, we would come here.
‘It’s a very friendly pub.’
Adi Manning, the manager of the Greene King owned pub, said the staff endeavoured to treat John ‘like family.’
He said: ‘John comes down here at least three times a week – he knows all the locals and all the locals know him.
‘And I class him a true hero, for what he’s done for this country – so for me, there is no greater honour than having him open the pub.
‘Especially this weekend, we need to recognise what he has done for our country.’
The Good Companion has undergone a transformation to give it a ‘rustic look,’ as well as adding new dining areas.
Born 15 years before the building became a pub in 1934, John said pub culture has ‘changed’ over the decades.
He said: ‘In the old days, we used to call them spit and sawdust pubs – you had the old dart board, and people playing dominoes in the corner.
‘It has changed a bit.’
When asked what made the Good Companion a good pub, John said: ‘All pubs are good aren’t they?’
The pub is open 11am to 11pm on Mondays to Thursdays, closing at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.