Hundreds pay their final respects to world’s oldest barmaid

A tribute to late barmaid Dolly Saville in the Red Lion pub, Wendover
A tribute to late barmaid Dolly Saville in the Red Lion pub, Wendover

More than 300 mourners turned out to pay their respects to the world’s oldest barmaid yesterday.

The 100-year-old great, great grandmother, who was thought to be the oldest working barmaid in the world, passed away at home on February 24 surrounded by her family.

The hearse carrying her coffin made its way past Agora – the craft shop owned by her granddaughter Kim Leemans – before travelling through the archway of the Red Lion pub, where she pulled pints behind the bar for 76 years.

The cortege then made its way to St Mary’s Church for an 11am service, where people had travelled from across the country to say goodbye to the lady who had become a ‘national treasure’.

Mrs Saville’s granddaughter Kim said: “It really could not have been a nicer send off for her.

“I did a reading that I wrote myself, which were some of my childhood memories of Nan. The church erupted in applause when I finished, and I’m so pleased I managed to do it.

“We sung All Things Bright And Beautiful, followed by Abide With Me, then she left to Louis Armstrong’s Hello Dolly.

“She had 100 red roses on her coffin, because red was her favourite colour and mum said she always wanted to buy a red rose bush when she took her to the garden centre.

“The sun was shining and it was very poignant.”

The church service was followed by a private cremation at Amersham Crematorium, while mourners went on to the Red Lion to ‘have a drink for Dolly’, read tributes set up in the bar which was named after her and honouring the barmaid’s decades of commitment to a job she adored.