October 20 2014 Latest news:
Friday, March 7, 2014
The running of the Cherry Tree pub in Yaxley is very much a family affair, and it’s clear that the teenage landlord, Charlie, has the pub industry in his blood.
The running of the Cherry Tree pub in Yaxley is very much a family affair.
The Watts family moved to the small village near Eye, Suffolk, from Dagenham to take over the venue in Old Norwich Road 11 years ago.
Andy and Nikki Watts ran the business and brought their son Charlie, then aged about seven, in tow.
Little did any of them know that more than a decade later, when Mr Watts landed a new job as business development manager at Southwold Pier, it would be their son - now 18 - who would take over, potentially making him the youngest pub landlord in the country.
“We came to a quiet village with not many people living here and haven’t looked back since,” Charlie said.
“I must have been seven when we came here and I spent my teens in the pub.
“As I came out of sixth form I flitted between part-time jobs which I didn’t really get on with. The only thing I really wanted to do was this, because I’ve grown up with it.”
He said there were some people who questioned how, at the tender age of 18, he had enough experience to run a busy pub which residents rely on as their only community facility in the village.
However Charlie said he perhaps had the best experience of all - because he had grown up in the pub, seen how it all works and got to know the customers.
“Without knowing it, I’d gained the experience I needed to be able to do it,” he said.
Charlie had been serving pints since he was 17. He was able to serve alcoholic beverages under UK law as long as the sales were approved by an adult member of staff.
Although Mr Watts is busy with his new job, Mrs Watts is still very much involved in the running of the business.
She does a lot of the pub’s cooking and also helps run the post office, which is part of the pub.
“People don’t really see that often,” Charlie said. “There is a post office in the next room so people can come in, get their stamps and then step in and have a pint.”
The pub also runs a community shop in the premises.
Charlie said the pub was also proud of its real ales, winning the Mid-Anglian Pub of the Year award from Camra (the Campaign for Real Ale) last year, and played an important role in the community
“The pub is the only thing in the village,” he said. “Everything else is houses. If the pub wasn’t here, they wouldn’t have a reason to come out.”
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