THE head chef of a Harnham hotel celebrated his retirement last week, after more than 45 years in the job.

John Tobin, 65, is known affectionately by friends and family as Toby, and began his career at the Rose and Crown in Harnham in 1973 at the age of 19, and has worked there ever since.

The hotel hosted a retirement lunch for him last Wednesday (March 6), which was attended by his family and friends, as well as colleagues from down the years.

On how it feels to be retiring, John said: “It’s funny to describe. It’s a mixture of sadness and happiness.

“But I’m looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren.”

He added: “Everything has changed since I’ve been here, but I will miss the staff. You do so many hours in this business, the staff become like your second family.”

General manager of the Rose and Crown, Derek McNeill, said: “I have worked with John for eight years and always found him to be hard working with a great understanding of others, he has provided a sound environment in the kitchen for 45 years and will be missed.

“I wish him all the very best in his retirement.”