Working men’s club toasts Liz’s 30 years in charge

Herald Series: Liz Tyrer-Lavelle, 64, right, with husband, Franc, 69, and daughter Katie, 33 Liz Tyrer-Lavelle, 64, right, with husband, Franc, 69, and daughter Katie, 33

MEMBERS of a working men’s club raised a glass to mark 30 years of Liz Tyrer-Lavelle pulling pints behind the bar.

Didcot’s Marlborough Club is now the home to three snooker teams, three darts teams, a table tennis club and is the home of Didcot Rugby club.

As stewardess to the Broadway club’s 600 members Mrs Tyrer-Lavelle, 64, provides more than just good beer.

Putting up Christmas decorations, hanging the flag for the World Cup and, of course, being a sympathetic ear are among her other duties.

The mother-of-two manages 16 staff and helps co-ordinate snooker, table tennis and bar billiards and the rugby club’s residency.

She said: “I enjoy watching people enjoying themselves.

“I don’t drink much myself, I have the occasional one, but I love the social aspect. In that respect, it’s the perfect job.”

Parents Cliff and Pat Bradbeer ran the club in the 1970s, and now Mrs Tyrer-Lavelle is showing the ropes to daughter Katie, 33.

The club opened in 1928 with members paying rent until they bought the building in 1947 for £5,000.

They were mostly railway workers and staff at the Royal Army Ordnance Corps depot at Didcot.

While working men’s clubs across the UK have struggled with falling membership, partly due to cheaper supermarket booze, the Marlborough has thrived.

Mrs Tyrer-Lavelle added: “We are in a prime position and the centre of Didcot, I’ve got good staff and I look after them, and they pay it back.”

Club secretary Allan Lovelock said: “She is a good listener.

“Nothing is too much and she is full of good advice.

“A lot of what she says makes sense, she is everybody’s friend.”

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Mr Lovelock, 65, a lab technician at petroleum firm Infinium, added: “All the clubs here have the greatest respect for her.

“If they get boisterous, we send in Liz.

“She’s got real character. I personally don’t think the club would be the same without her, she holds the community together.”

When she first took over, Mrs Tyrer-Lavelle said she was expecting it to be a temporary position.

But it soon turned out to be the perfect job and husband Franc also helps out.

New members are welcome and an application form can be found at marlboroughclubdidcot.co.uk

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