Farewell to long-serving landlady Margaret

Copy photos for Royal Standard story. Picture: Submitted.

Copy photos for Royal Standard story. Picture: Submitted. - Credit: submitted

A former publican who was born at the pub she went on to run for most of her life has died aged 89. Margaret Pettitt was born and raised at the Royal Standard, in Baxter's Row, Dereham.

Margaret Pettitt with her husband Stan on their wedding day. Picture: Submitted.

Margaret Pettitt with her husband Stan on their wedding day. Picture: Submitted. - Credit: submitted

For many she will have been the familiar smiling face behind the bar at the end of a long day's work.

Her parents James and Polly Mabel Sutton ran the pub from the 1920s and later it was taken on by Mrs Pettitt and her husband Stan.

Born on March 13 1925, she was one of four children in a family of market traders and fishmongers, as well as publicans.

She worked at craft shop Hobbies, in Dereham, after leaving school at 14 and each day after finishing her shift she would head home and help her parents in the pub. Lifting barrels of beer and working the evening shift behind the bar.

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During World War II Hobbies helped create items for the war effort and Mrs Pettitt signed up to be a volunteer first aid worker.

Her niece Jo Ford said: 'Auntie Margaret was always very generous and she would always have a smile.

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'I remember we used to love visiting her because every time you left she would give you a big handful of chocolate bars and sweets.

'She had a nickname for everyone who came in the pub and would always be cheerful.

'She never complained and she loved to have a sing song.

'She never touched a drop herself, she was a teetotal landlady.

'She became renowned for the way the pub would be decorated on special occasions at Christmas and other festivities.'

In 1982 the Royal Standard moved premises to the former Light Horse pub, also on Baxter's Row, and remains there today.

Mrs Pettitt and her husband took the name when they moved premises and it was retained after their retirement in 1990.

Music was a big part of Mrs Pettitt's life and during their time at the Royal Standard people would gather round the piano or the wind-up gramophone for a song.

Musicians would come and perform including Fiddler Brown, a travelling fiddle player who went from pub to pub performing.

Mrs Pettitt's funeral will take place at 11.30am on Wednesday, October 15, at St Nicholas Church, Dereham. Family flowers only and any donations to the Big C will be gratefully received.

Did you know Mrs Pettitt and would like to share your memories of her? Write to Doug Faulkner at doug.faulkner@archant.co.uk.

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