Andy Lemm has worked within ELH since 1995. His first position within the company was as waiter at the Waterhead Hotel. Progressing through various roles, such as Head Waiter, Duty Manager and Assistant Manager before taking up the role of General Manager the Wild Boar Inn and lives and works there with his wife Michelle, who is Personnel Manager, and his two sons or 'deputies' Charlie and Alfie.
Andy says, "because of the rural position of the Inn, most staff live-in which makes the staff culture very 'family' and friendly, which the guests seem to really appreciate."
As well as the current team at the Wild Boar there has been some interesting staff from the past. Below are just a few of those characters and their stories...
John Anderson who was a young keen Hall Porter at The Wild Boar back in 1987 where he met his wife to be Sandra when she was a senior receptionist. They both left The Wild Boar to spend a year in John’s native New Zealand before coming back to the UK to continue to work in the hospitality industry and they got married in 1991. John went on to work at Made in Cumbria and became the secretary of the Cumberland Sausage Society. During this time English Lakes were approached by John to help provide chefs who would put on demonstrations at many of the local country fairs and help promote the best quality food and produce from around the county. John also asked the group he used to work for many years earlier to help judge and carry out some cook offs for the Cumberland Sausage competitions which were held to promote the campaign for the recognition of the Traditional Cumberland Sausage. John worked on this campaign to secure PGI protected status for Traditional Cumberland Sausage for 7 years. Tragically John died suddenly on 23rd November 2010 from a blood clot but Sandra continued to look after the mountains of paperwork John had accumulated to make sure the work was not in vain and that John got the recognition he deserved for all his hard work on the campaign.
PGI status for Traditional Cumberland Sausage has now been agreed by the European Union and will be officially announced -shortly.
Charles Edward Partridge, born 1919, was "The Boots", at the Wild Boar from 1935. It was his job to collect the guests' boots and shoes from outside the eight letting bedrooms at 6 am every morning and take them to the boot shed for polishing. Each morning before boot duty, Charles would start up the "donkey" engine which pumped water from the beck into the large water tank above one of the bedrooms. The Inn generated its own electricity from large batteries stored in a shed at the back of the building.
After polishing the boots, Charles would set the fires in the guest bedrooms before cleaning the bar and restaurant. His weekly wage was seven shillings and sixpence and from that he had to buy his own uniform.
Charles' mother was Cook at the Inn and lived-in along with his sister and her husband. He remembers the kitchen being the centre of operations, everything being cooked on a large coal-fired range. "Mother was a great cook and the hotel had a reputation for good, locally produced food. The reputation spread and people would come to the Wild Boar from London because it was known for the quality of the food. There was a speciality dish each evening - I remember Saturday was 'duck night', and we got the ducks from a farm owned by two spinsters down the valley".
Charles married Margaret, a waitress at the Wild Boar and they went on to have two sons and two daughters. Charles eventually continued his career with the AA, assisting motorists and travelling around the County on a motorcycle with sidecar; a grand day out was driving down to Morecambe and having dinner at the Midland Hotel.
Jenny Gorst did not have far to travel to work at the Wild Boar. As well as being Receptionist at the Inn from 1974, Jenny and her husband, Malcolm, owned Gilpin Farm, just across the road. As a busy farmer's wife, Jenny would be up very early and, after the cows were milked each morning, she would deliver six to seven gallons of milk from the farm to the kitchen at Wild Boar before 6 am. It doesn't get much fresher than that!
Jenny would then take up her duties behind Reception and she remembers with fondness some of the regular customers and members of staff that she got to know during her time at the Inn. She would occasionally help the head housekeeper, Ruth Nicholson, clean the bedrooms when the Inn was particularly busy.
"There was a real sense of family at the Wild Boar. I particularly remember the dinner dances on a Saturday night with Sid Patterson's live band. After dinner, locals and visitors to the area would take their partners on the dance floor. It was the highlight of the week".
The staff Christmas party is another special memory for Jenny. Members of staff and their families were treated to a beautiful three-course meal, dancing and a Christmas gift. The Chef and waiting on staff from the Low Wood Hotel would be drafted in for the evening and, with just a little competitive spirit, would ensure that the meal was lavish and the service tip top.
Although Jenny is retired now, she is not forgotten and her legacy lives on - whilst reading the menu, you may come across "Jenny's Lamb", delivered fresh from Gilpin Farm by her son.
Sidney Rowe has served the Wild Boar Inn as "Santa" from 1978. Sidney and his wife, Maureen, were Steward and Stewardess at Windermere Golf Club at that time. Every Christmas they would put on a party for some of the local children. The Manager of the Wild Boar Inn heard that Sidney was a big hit with the children and asked if he would visit the Inn on Christmas day and give out gifts to the guests. Sidney has not missed a Christmas since!
He arrives at the Wild Boar at around 8.30 am and remembers with amusement the modes of transport that have been provided for him. "I've been driven in vintage cars of all description and a carriage drawn by four shire horses, but I put my foot down when they suggested I arrive by helicopter!".
Usually, Sid waits by the cosy fire beside the bar to greet the guests as they come down for breakfast, but on the odd occasion, when there are late sleepers, he has to knock on the bedroom door. You can imagine the guests' surprise at being woken by Santa himself.
Sidney's commitment to this annual task is unshakable. Maureen remembers, with gentle reproof, the year that Sidney had suffered a triple heart attack, but was determined to fulfil his duties as Santa. "Well, you can't let the children down", he mused.
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