Ambitious Emma Gallagher is only 19 years old but she has already stamped her personality on the Old Lion Inn in Cleobury Mortimer.
Emma took over the Old Lion in March after the previous long-term landlord left.
At the time she was working as a barmaid and glass collector, a job she’d been employed in since July 2012.
When the position of landlord became vacant, enterprising Emma wasn’t going to let her young age get in the way of realising her dream.
“From the moment I got offered the chance to run The Lion by owner Clive Evans, I had a lot of determination and thought if I gave it my best shot then I could pull it off,” says Emma, who has been granted a personal licence by Shropshire Council.
“The only doubts I had were my age and knowing I would have a lot of responsibility to take on; overall though I was fairly confident I could do it. When I put my mind to something, I am very determined!”
During the week before the opening, Emma, with help from her mum, sister and partner gave the old public house a spring clean, new lick of paint, and added a few decorations.
Emma, (who is known to everyone as “Sip”, since aquiring the nickname ten years ago) also made some changes to the drinks she wanted to offer her customers:
“I also changed some of the beers and ciders and added new drinks, including inventing some new cocktails and naming them after all the staff!”
Emma admits she was aware that there were some who did think she was too young to step into the role. But over the past seven months it can certainly be argued that Emma has proved her detractors wrong.
She says: “A lot of people were very sceptical when they heard I was the new licensee due to the fact I was only 18 years old. At first I was slightly disheartened, but then thought well I may as well give it all I’ve got and prove them wrong, which I believe I have.”
“My family had enormous amounts of faith in me from the start, and that’s what I think gave me the confidence to go for it. My parents have always said I am quite mature for my age. You have a lot of enthusiasm when you’re young, but the disadvantage is that people can think you’re too young to handle difficult situations. I think I’ve proved that I can handle whatever is thrown at me and also continue doing my job with passion and enjoyment. Considering I’m only 19 I would say I have a very good business mind!”
Ironically, Emma was dropped from the bar apprenticeship course she was studying for last year.
“When I first started working at the Lion I was doing a bar apprenticeship course, but unfortunately I got dropped from it as my teacher didn’t think I had it in me! I think that proves you don’t need qualifications you just need a good work ethic, determination and spirit.”
She adds: “I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life (or up until I’m 60 at least!). I can’t express how much I enjoy my job and how proud I am of myself, but I couldn’t have done it without my boss, my family, my friends and of course all of my customers who have all been very supportive.”