Family Visit 1,000 Wetherspoon Pubs After Promise To Son With Autism
A family have managed to visit all 1,000 Wetherspoon pubs in the UK, essentially completing my entire Bucket List.
The Latchfords spent 10 years travelling across the country after their son, who has autism, decided to hold them to a 'throwaway comment' they made. And quite right, too.
Christy was just 17 when his folks promised him they would visit every Wetherspoon pub, without really intending to ever actually do it, but as soon as the young LAD turned 18, he held them to their promise.
The family managed to tick off 900 in the first six years and then spent the next four waiting for new ones to open.
Mum Shelia, from Kidderminster, said: "Our daughter Amy works at the Penny and Black Wetherspoon in Kidderminster and when she started Christy was not yet 18.
"We wanted to take him in to show her working behind the bar but in those days, they had a really strict rule which meant anyone under 18 had to have a meal.
"We had just eaten so left. I said rather foolishly, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, 'Don't worry, when you are 18 we will go to all of them.'
"When you say something like that to someone with autism it is taken seriously. The minute he turned 18 he was back in the Penny and Black in Kidderminster.
"We were never intending to do them all but had promised him and he wouldn't let us forget it.
"It didn't occur to us it could be doable until I had to go to Scotland to work. They drove me up and we went to ones in Dundee and Edinburgh and it just went from there."
The family has spent so long on their mission that some of the bars they visited years back have since closed.
Shelia, 61, added: "It was a lot easier when there were loads to do, we could just fly up to Glasgow and walk around and come straight back.
"We would often book the night away, next week we are going to the new one in St Pancras when it opens.
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"We only target openings now and keep a close eye on the website and are part of the Wetherspoon appreciation society group on Facebook.
"The only ones we have not been to are the ones in Heathrow terminal 5, which are after security. We will have to do that when we plan our next holiday.
"But as far as we know we have done every other one in the UK and Southern Ireland."
The family began by ticking off all the Spoons in big cities and worked their way around from there, they've also made three trips to Ireland.
Shelia, her husband Keith and son Christy, visited their 1000 pub just last week, when they went to the Palladium Electric in Midsomer Norton, Somerset.
"The latest one in Midsomer Norton was our 1,000th," Sheila said. "They don't serve Champagne anymore, but we had a nice bottle of sparkling wine instead.
"It was a real landmark but unfortunately we were only there for a limited time but had a good look around."
Keith added: "Everyone tends to say that the historical buildings are the best, and that is true.
"There are some beautiful conversions of old premises and some of the newer pubs in particular are fantastic.
"It is a great hobby for us together and Christy loves it."
Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin congratulated the family on their achievement.
"This is a wonderful achievement by Sheila, Keith and Christy," he said.
"They must have travelled tens of thousands of miles over the years to visit each Wetherspoon pub.
"We thoroughly appreciate their loyalty and commitment and trust they will continue to visit our pubs for many more years to come."
Oh, and if you're wondering which is the family's favourite, it's The Caley Picture House, in Edinburgh. Worth a trip next time you're nearby, I reckon, I mean, if anyone knows what makes a good Wetherspoon, its these guys.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS