A family-owned north Suffolk pub is to welcome Britain’s youngest landlord to the helm on Saturday.
The Cherry Tree Pub, in Old Ipswich Road, Yaxley, has been run by Andy and Nikki Watts for the last eleven years.
But after their son Charlie finished sixth form at Hartismere School last year and struggled to find a job, it has been agreed he will become the new landlord on his 18th birthday on Saturday.
With father Andy having started a new job as a business development manager at Southwold Pier earlier this month, Charlie will be the youngest landlord in the country.
Charlie took up an apprenticeship in hospitality management, and completed his personal licence qualification last month.
He has finished a cellar management course, while he has also been working at the pub under supervision.
“Dad said he wanted to do something else so me and mum have stepped up,” he said.
“It looked like this was the best way to go.
“I was only 7 years old when we moved here and have always wanted to work in the pub - now I’m going to be running it with mum and I’m excited by the challenge.”
Mrs Watts said she had little doubt Charlie would be up to the task.
“I know he is going to do a good job,” she said. “He has had a good teacher - he has watched his Dad for 11 years.
“Working with your own family is not easy and I’m sure Charlie and I will have our ups and downs, but he’s brilliant with the customers and clearly enjoys it.
“He is so enthusiastic and really wants it. This is what he wants to do with his life.”
Charlie’s Dad Andy, added: “This is a massive opportunity for Charlie.
“Yaxley is a fantastic community and he has grown up with the people he will now be serving”.
Charlie revealed there would be a party in the pub on Saturday night to celebrate his birthday and the changeover.
The Cherry Tree, which also hosts the village post office and is run by Mrs Watts, won the Mid-Anglia Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branch Pub-of-the-Year 2013.