Seven Stars named best village pub (and there’s a lifetime achievement award for Britain’s oldest barmaid, too)

Seven Stars in Dinton
Seven Stars in Dinton

Glasses were raised at the Seven Stars in Dinton last night after it was named the best village pub in Aylesbury Vale.

Dolly Saville, a 99-year-old barmaid from Wendover, was also handed a lifetime achievement gong in the contest hosted by Aylesbury Vale District Council, while the George and Dragon in Quainton earned the best community pub accolade.

Wendover ladies Dolly Saville (98) and Nora Mullinder (90) both still working. Dolly at The Red Lion and Nora at the Florence Nightingale Hospice Shop

Wendover ladies Dolly Saville (98) and Nora Mullinder (90) both still working. Dolly at The Red Lion and Nora at the Florence Nightingale Hospice Shop

The Seven Stars was set to be sold in 2011 when a campaign to save the pub was started.

A total of 65 residents came forward and raised the £360,000 required to save the pub for the community.

Landlords Stephanie Guiraute and David Berry have turned the pub’s fortunes around making it into a thriving village local.

Stephanie said: “We have worked hard to achieve our vision of providing good beer and quality English pub dining with a French twist.

“Winning this prestigious award reflects the efforts put in and the support of the community. We will keep working hard to ensure the Seven Stars will be the number one destination pub in the Vale.”

Now in its 16th year the contest, sponsored by drinks firm Dayla, generated hundreds of nominations from locals. The pubs were judged on a number of criteria including their overall character, friendliness of staff, quality of food and drink, community spirit and family facilities

Other winners were: Old Swan, Cheddington (Best Food); Unicorn, Cublington (Best Family); Crown, Great Horwood, and Village Swan, Ivinghoe Aston (One to Watch).

Dolly Saville, a great, great grandmother who has worked at The Red Lion in Wendover for about 74 years picked up the lifetime achievement award.

Tim Cooper, managing director of Dayla based in Aston Clinton, said: “We are delighted once again to be sponsoring this great local initiative. It acts as the perfect vehicle to promote the great village pubs that we have in our area, all well worth exploring and discovering their delights.

“I am especially pleased that Dolly`s loyal work has been recognised since she was even working at my parent’s wedding reception at The Red Lion back in 1948….that really does deserve to be in the Guinness Book of Records!”

Councillor Pam Pearce, cabinet member for community matters, said: “The judging panel were delighted by the high standard of all the applications from the 38 pubs nominated. Village pubs at their best bring people together and are the heartbeat of communities.

“This competition celebrates some of the great things they do and encourages more people to use them, which is great for the pubs and great for the local economy.”