September 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
He’s been pulling pints at his family’s pub since he was 17 but this weekend Charlie Watts will put his name forward to claim to be the youngest landlord in the country.
On Saturday, Mr Watts will step inside The Cherry Tree pub in Yaxley, near Eye, greeted by his family and friends to celebrate his 18th birthday.
But it will be no ordinary party as he will be taking over from his parents Nikki and Andy as landlord of the north Suffolk pub.
“Well it’s going to be hard work, I can guarantee that,” Mr Watts said.
“My dad and mum did it for 11 years and they did not get to where they are without putting in the hours. Since we came here when I was seven years old I have helped out. I have been chatting and getting to know the people, without actually knowing it I have taken it all in, getting experience which will obviously help.”
In the months before his 18th birthday he has been able to serve alcoholic beverages, under UK law, as long as the sales were approved by an adult member of staff.
Although he wanted to become a police officer when he left Hartismere High School last year, Mr Watts said he now wanted to revitalise the struggling pub industry. He said he wanted to encourage younger drinkers to the village pub.
“I have all sorts of plans: we are pride ourselves in our real ales which is great, and I want to continue that, but I would also like to put on more music nights,” he said.
Mr Watts has taken courses to prepare him for running the pub, which also serves as the village shop and post office.
As postmaster Mrs Watts will continue to run the vital service while her son leads the pub business.
“My husband decided he wanted a change after 11 years and with Charlie coming up to 18 we thought it was a brilliant opportunity for him,” she said.
“It’s hard work with long hours and late nights but it’s enjoyable and we have got a lot of regular customers.”
Last year The Campaign for Real Ale, CAMRA, praised the establishment as in the top 150 real ale pubs in the country.