A COUPLE have celebrated hitting a milestone of 20 years behind a popular town bar.

May 27 marked the 20th anniversary of Olga and Keith Stokoe taking on the running of the Dr Syntax in Prudhoe.

To mark the occasion, they invited 200 former bar staff and regulars to a celebratory evening party on Saturday night with buffet, live entertainment and disco to say thank you for their support.

Since taking on the lease of the Dr Syntax, Olga and Keith have created a family and dog-friendly local community pub with a reputation for sports.

They have introduced pool and darts teams and extended and refurbished the pub twice, the last time being four years ago, and theirs was the first pub in the area to install a dance floor, used regularly at weekends for discos.

During their time Olga and Keith have held regular charity fund-raisers which have raised funds for charities, particularly cancer charities. They have also given jobs to more than 100 of their regulars’ children.

Prior to taking on the pub, they had no experience in hospitality and they both had previously worked at the SCA factory, now Essity, where they met each other.

Olga said: “When we inquired about taking on the pub, the previous owner said we wouldn’t be able to run it as we didn’t have the experience.

“I saw that as a challenge and took it on to prove him wrong and am delighted we did so. We’ve absolutely loved every minute of it, meeting different people and interesting characters, many of whom we now consider friends.”

The couple have decided that this coming year will be their last at the Dr Syntax, with hopes to retire to Spain.

Olga added: “It’s now time though to pass the Dr Syntax on to someone else who will love it and the customers as much as we do. We intend to retire to Spain but will keep popping back to see our friends, this time though from the other side of the bar.”