Late barmaid could be included in Guinness Book of Records

Barmaid Dolly Saville at The Red Lion in Wendover

Barmaid Dolly Saville at The Red Lion in Wendover

  • Dolly Saville worked behind the bar at The Red Lion for more than 75 years
  • Now the 100-year-old could be included in the Guinness Book of Records
  • Family, friends and punters will pay tribute to her at church service next week
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The late Dolly Saville could be immortalised in the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s oldest barmaid.

Mrs Saville, who worked behind the bar of The Red Lion in Wendover for more than 75 years, passed away at home last week aged 100.

Spokesman for Guinness World Records Jamie Clarke said: “Guinness World Records is sad to hear of the passing of Dolly Saville.

“We can confirm that we did receive a record application in regards to her work at the Red Lion pub in Wendover and we were waiting to receive evidence as per the claim.

“The record for the oldest bartender is determined by the last paid shift that the individual has worked and Dolly could still be allocated to this record providing the person who made the original application could provide the relevant evidence.”

Mrs Saville was born in on April 19 1914, two years after the sinking of the Titanic and just months before the outbreak of the First World War that summer.

She moved to Wendover with her family at the age of three and went on to call it her home for the next 97 years.

Not many of us could recall a time when a pint of the good stuff cost as little as 8d (3.5p), but that’s how much a tipple would set you back when Mrs Saville turned up for her first shift in 1940.

Mrs Saville married in her teens, but her life changed when war broke out and her husband signed up to the RAF.

The young mother found herself having to get a job to support her family, and happened to be walking past the Red Lion on Wendover High Street one day when she was collared by the landlord.

Dolly Saville greets the crowds at the Red Lion pub in Wendover on her 100th birthday on April 19, 2014

Dolly Saville greets the crowds at the Red Lion pub in Wendover on her 100th birthday on April 19, 2014

He persuaded her to give it a shot, even though she was nervous about giving the wrong change, and she never looked back.

Over the next 75 years, she served each punter with a smile and Mrs Saville saw the world change beyond all recognition.

When Mrs Saville first began working, Winston Churchill was in office at 10 Downing Street, a loaf of bread cost 6d (2.5p), petrol cost 24p a gallon and people were just getting to grips with ration books.

Now Mrs Saville has quite rightly become a local institution after she refused to give up work despite being well past retirement age.

Dolly Saville at work in the beer garden at the Red Lion in 1949

Dolly Saville at work in the beer garden at the Red Lion in 1949

Up until the end of last year, she still clocked in for three lunchtime shifts a week and insisted that keeping active was her secret.

At the time, she said: “I love my work and I love the people. It keeps me going and it stops me sitting around.”

During her seven and a half decades of service, Mrs Saville hobnobbed with a host of famous faces including James Bond hunk Pierce Brosnan, wartime crooner Vera Lynn, and made tea and toast for former Prime Minister Edward Heath.

But some would argue that Mrs Saville became somewhat of a celebrity herself, with national newspapers and TV stations clamouring to interview her on her 100th birthday last year.

At the time, she said of her job: “I worked in all three bars and over the years I’ve also cooked in the kitchen, done the bedrooms, the reception and the teas. I’ve done the lot.

“It’s always been great fun and sometimes after a long shift I would be tired, but we would go out dancing.”

Dolly Saville, centre, aged three, with brother Fred and mother Daisy Oakley, right

Dolly Saville, centre, aged three, with brother Fred and mother Daisy Oakley, right

Last year Mrs Saville enjoyed a starring role on BBC programme The One Show, riding to the studio in a classic car with hosts Chris Evans and Alex Jones.

She was interviewed by former cricketer Phil Tufnell at the Red Lion, before a portrait of her painted by artist Carne Griffiths using her favourite tipple – whiskey!

But perhaps Mrs Saville’s proudest moment was holding her great-great granddaughter Darcey Mae for the first time, after she was born in January 2013 to her great-granddaughter Philippa.

At the time, she said it was ‘absolutely wonderful’ news, joking: “We’re going to train her up. We’ll have the world’s oldest and the youngest barmaids together!”

On the centenarian’s 100th birthday last year, the village threw her a party at her beloved Red Lion with live music, dancing and celebrations all afternoon.

The great, great grandmother was overwhelmed with cards, flowers and gifts and was thrilled to receive her telegram from the Queen, as well as a letter from Prime Minister David Cameron himself.

At the time, she said modestly: “I can’t believe this is all for me.”

Now, people will gather in the pub once again next Thursday, but this time to pay their respects to a ‘national treasure’ and a barmaid they won’t ever forget.

> All are welcome to the funeral service at St Mary’s Church in Wendover on Thursday, March 12 which is to be followed by a wake at The Red Lion on Wendover High Street.

Following the church service, there will be a cremation at Amersham Crematorium to be attended by family only.

Family flowers only, but donations if desired to the RNLI, care of Co-Operative Funeral Care, 3 Holly Court, Tring Road, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6PE.

Dolly Saville with her great, great grandaughter Darcey Mae. Also pictured at her home in Wendover are Dolly's daughter Anne, granddaughter Kim and great granddaughter Phillipa. Picture sent in by Kim

Dolly Saville with her great, great grandaughter Darcey Mae. Also pictured at her home in Wendover are Dolly's daughter Anne, granddaughter Kim and great granddaughter Phillipa. Picture sent in by Kim