A pair of inseparable pub regulars raised a glass in celebration after drinking together at the same bar – for a staggering 167 years between them.
Les Perkins, 98, and Chris Parfitt, 95, first visited the Waggon and Horses at Doulting Beacon, Somerset, aged just 13.
And the nonogenarians have been loyal regulars at the pub ever since and outlasted at least four changes in management.
Retired farmer Les, from Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and retired quarry manager Chris, from Withybrook, Somerset, say the pub ”never changes.”
Les said: ”The pub never changes – only the people change. Some we’ve liked, some we didn’t. They move on but we always keep coming back.”
Chris added: ”The current owners are very good and the food is excellent, although the landlady’s a bit cheeky.”
Les and Chris were taken for their first drink at the Waggon and Horses by their fathers when each was aged 13 years old – in 1925 and 1928.
The two became firm friends despite going to different schools and have now drunk together in the pub for 82 years.
Chris left school aged 14 to work at Wainwright’s Quarry, Somerset, and enjoyed a successful 50 year career before retiring in 1980.
He said: ”I always wanted to be a farmer – all my friends were farmers, but the wages were so low and the work so hard I didn’t stick it long.
”I saw so many great changes in the quarry industry over that time.”
When Les left school he began working on a farm which has now been in his family for over 200 years.
Les’ great-niece Susie Perkins, who drives him to the pub, revealed he used to drink cider but now prefers whiskey.
She said: ”I see him every day and I love taking him out. I know he liked an occasional pint of cider in his younger days but now he much prefers a drop of whiskey.”
Chris’ nephew Paul Kelly, from Calne, Wilts., was evacuated to live with Chris during the Blitz and regularly drives him to meet up with Les.
He said: ”My mother was in the Admiralty and dad was a regular so I had to leave London and come down here to live with Chris and he took me in and looked after me.”
Dawn and Mike Corp, who are the current landlords at the pub, say Les and Chris are two of their favourite customers.