In an era when pubs all over the country are closing on a regular basis the success story of Pat Gower is pretty impressive.
She runs two popular pubs in Wendover, neither of which serve food or have a car park, two of the things most businessmen would insist are vital in this day and age.
But after 50 years as landlady of The Pack Horse, and 18 years owning The Swan, 82-year-old Mrs Gower knows a thing or two about what attracts people to sup at her bars.
“You have to chose the right people behind the bar,” she said.
“I’ve got good staff, friendly, polite and chatty.”
It helps that Mrs Gower herself is also a very lovely lady.
At her recent 50th anniversary she was overwhelemed by the number of current and former customers who dropped in to wish her well, including many RAF servicemen now stationed all over the world who have enjoyed her hospitality over the years.
Her daughter Pauline, who together with her husband James Davies, helps run The Pack Horse, said: “I am very proud of mum, she is loved by everyone, she has an effect on everyone she talks to, she has that knack.
“It’s kept her young, she’s fitter than me!”
Mrs Gower still pops in to the pub every day to do a stint behind the bar.
Born at RAF Halton, during her father’s final years in the air force she has lived all her life in Wendover. Her husband Bert was from Aylesbury and they married when she was 20-years-old at St Mary’s Church.
She said: “It was my husband’s idea to take on The Pack Horse.
“He was a printer for many years, started at Hazell, Watson and Viney and then went to work on The Daily Telegraph in London, but he got tired of the travelling.”
The couple looked at a few pubs in Wendover before settling on The Pack Horse. “It was a bit strange at first,” she said, “but because it was local and I knew a lot of people that helped me adjust.
“And we had the RAF, they have been a big help to us all the time we have been here. I’ve enjoyed it all very much.”
When her husband died 20 years ago Mrs Gower thought she would have to leave the trade.
“I couldn’t have coped with the paperwork and the cellar, but my daughter and her husband joined me.
“My daughter does the paperwork and my son-in-law does the cellar. They run it with me now, but I am still the official licencee.
“I still go in most days, potter about, serve the odd pint. I enjoy the atmosphere.”
In addition to her daughter, Mrs Gower also has a son Trevor who lives in Stoke Mandeville, six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.