Very Empress-ive: Landlady marks 25 years at Hull pub
SHE'S the empress of landladies in Hull – having run a pub for 25 years.
Ann Donkin will be hosting a celebration event to mark the occasion in the Old Town this month.
She started working at The Empress, in Alfred Gelder Street, in 1988, after learning the ropes with her late husband Kevin at the Humber Keel, on Hull Marina.
Kevin, was one of the city's favourite and best-known licensees, died just over six years ago.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
"For 19 years the pub was run more by my husband than me but I then took over full-time," said Ann, who has a team of 14 staff.
"I've managed fine. I'm very sociable and the regulars treat me as one of the lads.
"We came here in February 1988 and all-day opening was introduced the following August.
"It's frightening to think I've worked here for so long but I have no plans to retire."
She said although pubs are now allowed to stay open later at night they do not often serve beyond 11pm.
"You get two good hours and then it quietens down," said Ann.
"I love the social side of running a pub and it's something my husband always wanted to do."
Despite changes in the drinking culture and many pubs closing in the city, The Empress continues to be a popular haunt, especially for city centre shoppers.
Ann works alongside manager Shaun Curtis, 34, and son Andrew, 33, who share the working hours and jobs in the pub.
Shaun said: "Ann is a real character and always makes people feel welcome, that's why we have so many people come through the door. Everyone knows everyone at The Empress and there is a warm and friendly atmosphere."
To celebrate Ann reaching her 25-year milestone, a party will be held on Friday, with live entertainment.
A race day is also being organised in June to mark the occasion at Beverley Racecourse.
Ann said: "We started sponsoring a race six years ago in Kevin's memory and this year we'll combine it with the celebration.
"The party will also include a buffet and entertainment from a local performer Daz.
"As well as our regulars, who live in the Hull area, we're expecting a few old faces from other pubs."
Among them will be Alan and Beryl Moses, who spent 21 years behind the bar of The Kingston Hotel, in Trinity House Lane, before retiring ten years ago.
Beryl said: "We were the longest-serving licensees in the Old Town when we retired and we're looking forward to congratulating Ann on reaching 25 years.
"We can't think of anyone else who is still in the same pub after such a long time and she's still doing a great job."