19-year-old becomes Britain's youngest pub landlady

While Shannon West probably didn’t mean to make us feel bad by buying a pub, she has.

Not because she’s done anything at all wrong, but because she’s only 19, and she’s already become a landlady of the Salterton Arms in Budleigh Salterton, Devon. All at an age the rest of us were barely getting in for our first legal pints.

Shannon had never even visited the town before she got the keys – two days before the second national coronavirus lockdown – but thankfully instantly liked the pub once she saw it in person.

‘It’s got the old-fashioned character to it but it is still modern,’ Shannon, originally from Hastings, said.

‘All the locals have been amazing – they couldn’t have bee more supportive. Budleigh is a really lovely place – there’s a nice selection of shops and the High Street looks really nice.

‘I hope to stay for some years. Our neighbours have also been very helpful.’

Shannon grew up around the hospitality industry, as her parents have owned a number of pubs over the years. She also got her first waitressing job at the age of 14, working her way up to managerial positions.

She said: ‘I was a manager and a receptionist where I used to work but being a landlady is something I always wanted to do.’

She works for Select Inns South West which this year became the leaseholder of the pub, known locally as The Salt.

Shannon finally got the keys to the Salterton Arms on 4 November – two days before pubs were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pub opened last week and Shannon was told The Salt is not really a ‘food’ pub. But due to Devon being in Tier 2 pubs can only open if they are searching substantial food and Shannon has taken the opportunity to serve locally-sourced fresh food.

‘It’s going really well – our first Sunday lunch was completely sold out,’ added Shannon who said she welcomes input from the community.

Shannon said: ‘We want to listen to the what the locals want and something we’re really excited about is to do live music – once we are allowed.’

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