PUB regular Fred Dell has got free drinks for life – after being given the freedom of his local.
Mr Dell, a sprightly 94, has been a regular at the Strawberry Gardens in Fleetwood for 76 years – and landlord Dave Shaw decided the retired gardener had put enough into the pub.
Now Mr Dell can follow his usual routine of leaving home at Wansbeck House on Chatsworth Avenue, placing a small bet at the bookmaker’s and popping into the Strawberry on Poulton Road for some refreshment.
He revealed his love affair with the Strawberry might have been even longer.
He said: “I first came in here when I was 18.
“I would have come in sooner but my dad used to come in as well!
“But I did go to other places!
“The first drink I had here was half a mild. It was the old C&S Brewery from Blackpool in those days.
“For a long time I lived just a few doors away so it’s been handy for me.”
Mr Dell is possibly the only person who can remember the pub being inundated with water in the floods of 1927.
He said: “I was nine at the time.
“It was a bit of an adventure for us kids. I can remember floating around on a makeshift raft.
“There were a lot of logs floating around from the docks.
“One came in our back and my mother said they weren’t having it back.
“It was there for ages and eventually it was cut and sawed up for firewood.”
Mr Dell only recently gave up riding a bicycle and looking after the gardens at Wansbeck House.
The bachelor puts his long and healthy life down to his outdoor life as a gardener.
His jobs have included looking after local schools, tending the greens at Fleetwood Bowling Club and also the greens which are to the rear of the Strawberry.
Work was interrupted by the Second World War when he served on HMS Warspite, the Royal Navy’s flagship in the Mediterranean.
Mr Shaw said: “We recently had the first anniversary of moving in and it was then I announced Fred would have the freedom of the pub.
“He’s been a great help to us providing us with a bit of history and names of previous landlords. It’s always good to have him here.”