People: Calderdale Wetherspoons superfans in race against time to tick off the 38 pubs up for sale

A couple of Wetherspoon superfans from Brighouse who've visited nearly 400 of its the chain's pubs face a race against time to tick off the 39 branches up for sale
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Dedicated Phil, 74, and Julie Fox, 71, were left “shocked” when the company revealed it was cutting bars from its franchise, including their local watering hole.

The enterprise decided cull the pubs, which will remain open during the sales process, after previously warning it could lose £30m due to rising staff wages and repairs.

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The couple, who celebrated their 40th anniversary in the chain were saddened to note their local 'Spoons, The Percy Shaw in Halifax, was earmarked for closure.

Wetherspoons mad couple Phil Fox and his wife JulieWetherspoons mad couple Phil Fox and his wife Julie
Wetherspoons mad couple Phil Fox and his wife Julie

And they now say they will seek out those pubs earmarked for closure for a final farewell drink.

Phil said: “We were quite shocked to hear the news really. One of them is our local, the Percy Shaw, in Halifax. It’s a sign of the economic times.

“I’ll be having a look at the list and we will try to go to places which are expected to close, especially in the New Year when we’re looking for places to go.

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“We’ve just been away for a weekend in Derby, visiting about six. There's one of those up for sale there. I think the idea is to downsize.”

The Percy Shaw in Halifax is among the Wetherspoons up for saleThe Percy Shaw in Halifax is among the Wetherspoons up for sale
The Percy Shaw in Halifax is among the Wetherspoons up for sale

The couple initially set out to sample 100 of the bars but have notched almost quadruple that figure.

The furthest the couple have gone to quench their thirst during their 18-year “hobby” is a pub in St Ives, Cornwall - nearly 400 miles away.

In the past, the retired pair have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary at newly-opened pubs, while also regularly scheduling holidays so they can add to their tally.

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Grandfather-of-five Phil said he fell in love with Wetherspoon pubs almost 20 years ago when his car broke down and he'd ducked into one of their boozers for some respite.

“We were on our way up to our daughter’s place in Newcastle and we were going up through The Dales and my car started playing up.

“I went for a wander round the town, and we went into this pub, and we couldn’t get over the price of everything – how cheap it was!

“That was the first time I really realised what a Wetherspoons was, but I’m sure I’ve been in them before that.”

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They came up with the idea of counting up how many Wetherspoon pubs they had visited after Phil retired at the age of 60 in 2007.

“One day we were sat in the Obediah Brooke Wetherspoon pub, in Cleckheaton, and me and my wife ran out of conversation.

“So I just said, ‘I wonder how many Wetherspoons we’ve been in?’ We sat there and by the time we’d had another drink, I said we’re up to about 60 odd.

“We just decided we’d try and do 100 and then call it quits – that’s how it started.”

Of all the pubs Phil has visited with Julie, a former Sun page three girl and retail worker, he ranks The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, in Keswick as his favourite.