Scarborough licensee celebrates 35 years behind the bar

 Scarborough licensee celebrates 35 years behind the bar

A reluctant 36-year-old landlady in 1982, The Newcastle Packet is today Kath’s pride and joy.  Widowed 17 years ago, the 71-year-old mother of three and grandmother of five has run it on her own since and has no plans to retire any time soon.  Her passion for the pub makes Kath the longest serving licensee working in the same pub in Scarborough.

Kath said: “A customer recently reminded me that when I first stepped foot in the pub at midnight on the 12th January 1982 I exclaimed in horror ‘What have we moved here for?’ Now I wouldn’t be anywhere else.  I love it and the views of the harbour.”

While other pubs on the seafront have closed, The Newcastle Packet has continued to flourish under Kath’s stewardship.  When the fishing trade died, she reinvented the former fisherman’s local, focusing on its fishing heritage and welcoming atmosphere, making it one of Scarborough’s most popular visitor destinations.  Its fishing history and famous floral displays attract people from around the globe and the walls are lined with tributes from happy customers and photos of Scarborough’s former fishermen.

“I used to see the fishermen come off the boats and have their drinks waiting on the bar.  Sadly, they’re now all gone.  However, descendants of fishermen pictured on the walls still come in and point them out with pride.”

Determined to keep the seafront alive, Kath and her team, which includes manager, Lizanne Myers, who has worked at the pub for 20 years, hold regular events throughout the week at the Newcastle Packet including darts, pool and karaoke. 

Lawson Mountstevens, MD of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Congratulations to Kath for 35 years at the Newcastle Packet.  Kath is an inspiration to us all.  Faced with an uncertain future when the fishing industry ended, she showed true resilience ensuring the spirit of the fishing industry lives on in the Newcastle Packet and that the seafront still has a great traditional pub.  We wish her many more happy years behind the bar, doing what she does best.”

79-year-old Bill Elliot, a former trawler man, said: “Kath was always here for the fishermen.  I remember coming in trawling at midnight and 5am.  We’d give Kath a call and she’d put some food on.  She’s a beautiful lady.  Friends past and present are celebrating her anniversary and those who’ve gone are there in spirit in the photos on the walls.”

During her time at the Newcastle Packet, Kath has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities and the Licensed Victuallers Association. Charities supported include: Sea Cadets, lifeboats, fishermen’s mission, Macmillan, Marie Curie, Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Help the heroes.