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In Full . . .

40 years of tradition

Posted on March 17 2008 at 12:03:25

Phil and Sheila

Village couple Phil and Sheila Meads are celebrating 40 years at the helm of one of the area’s most popular pubs.

During that time they have left probably the best bar for miles untouched and ensured that the accompanying beer is the best you can buy.

That focus on what really matters brought the Coach & Horses at Weatheroak the Redditch and Bromsgrove CAMRA Pub of the Year award four years running.

Phil and Sheila (above) took over as manager and manageress on April 10 1968, arriving with baby son Mark, while Gary was born on the premises the following year.

They were already in the business, having worked full-time for Ansells brewery in Solihull Lodge, but Phil had always wanted to run his own show:

“With it being a freehouse I thought I could see an opportunity. The bar was exactly as it is now, nothing has changed.”

What has changed, however, is the food on offer – and extending the buildings to cater for demand.

At first there was a little shop at the end of the pub where they sold sweets, hot dogs and pop for the children.

By the beginning of the 1970s they introduced gammon and egg sandwiches, which proved very popular, and when they created the lounge as it is now, in 1983, they had people queuing up for a table.

Then in November 1991 Phil and Sheila opened the new extension, creating a fully-fledged restaurant. During this time, they had progressed to become tenants in 1975 before buying the freehold in 1980.

They have maintained a continuity of staff that sees cook Lesley Summers clocking up 24 years with them, manager Mark Newey 16 years and “cleaner-cum-handywoman” Betty Bloomfield 30 years.

That continuity will now stay in the family as son Gary has taken over the running of the Coach while Phil has more of a back-seat role – but he is “still very much there”.

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