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Twenty-nine year old Sammi Pickering is the new landlady of The Red Lion in Leek

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 03, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

Sammi Pickering, who is the new manager at The Red Lion in Leek.

Sammi Pickering, who is the new manager at The Red Lion in Leek.

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A popular barmaid has become landlady of one of the busiest pubs in Leek at the age of just 29.

Sammi Pickering has been a familiar face behind a number of bars in the town for most of her working life, and now she is "living the dream" in running her own pub.

Sammi has recently taken over as manager at The Red Lion in Leek's Market Place, where she has worked for the past two years as assistant manager.

Former Leek High School student Sammi, who is Leek born and bred, has during her career worked at The V Bar, Engine Room, and Curshaws.

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She said: "I have always wanted my own pub.

"Sue Tilson, who I worked for at The V Bar, was my inspiration to become a manager.

"She trained me up on the bar and promoted me to bar manager.

"It was her support and encouragement which made me decide that I wanted to be a pub manager one day.

"When the position at The Red Lion came up I was offered it and felt very happy as it was all that ever I wanted."

On taking the lead role at one of Leek's busiest weekend night venues, which also has a good day-time trade during the week, Sammi admitted: "It is a bit stressful, but I have got a great team working with me from the door staff, bar staff, kitchen staff and my assistant manager Leanne Hudson."

There are 15 people who work at Hydes Brewery inn, and the pub is set to have a major refurbishment in July.

The pub had it's last facelift around five years ago.

Sammi said: "It's going to have a more upbeat bar area with a few internal structure alterations.

"We will be moving the DJ booth and having brick work exposed behind the bar."

The Red Lion is set to be temporarily closed for around three weeks while the works are carried out, but Sammi said it will be worth it as: "It's going to look brilliant."

She added: "It is an exciting time for us at The Red Lion.

"New pub and new manager."

The upstairs function room will also be "freshened up", the ladies toilets refurbished and Sammi and her team will be introducing a new menu.

As for the future of The Red Lion, Sammi told the Post & Times: "I am here for the long haul.

"It's a great pub with two different aspects.

"During the week, we have our loyal customers who pop in for coffees and lunches, and then at the weekend we have our busy night-time trade.

"That's what I love about The Red Lion.

"My main priority is this pub; it has been since I started here two years ago."

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