A FORMER landlady took a trip down memory lane as she returned to the pub where she was once pulling pints.

Ada Petri, aged 98, stepped back behind the bar to sing her own rendition of 'Those Were the Days' during a nostalgic visit to The Brown Cow in Bury.

Staff at Holt House nursing home in Prestwich, where Ada is a resident, wound back the clock to create the meaningful outing ahead of her 99th birthday.

"It was absolutely amazing", said Kerry Tait, activities coordinator at Holt House, which is run by the Salvation Army.

"It meant so much to be able to go back in time with Ada. It was an absolute joy.

"The pub has changed quite a lot since Ada was the landlady; it is now open plan but when she had it there were lots of smaller rooms. There are lots of staff working there now but Ada used to do everything on her own — cleaning, washing the pots, serving — it was all down to her and her family."

Ada and her late husband Joe took over the running of The Brown Cow in 1953, moving into the public house in Burrs Country Park with their three young children.

The family lived and worked at the pub for five years before moving into a property across the River Irwell, in the Higher Woodhill area.

The Petri family then moved back to Salford in 1961, when Ada resumed work as a machinist — the profession she had trained in as a young woman.

Daughter Anita Foy, who lives in Salford, said: "I was one-year-old when we moved to The Brown Cow. Mum was in her heyday then as a young woman. She had a young family to care for too.

"We had chickens and ducks in the back yard. It was all fields around Burrs then. In spring it would be absolutely covered with bluebells.

"There used to be several rows of stone cottages over the bridge where the river is. It was a little community."

She added: "We were thrilled to bits to return to the pub. Mum really enjoyed it; she got behind the bar and pretended to pull a pint. She was chatting to people about what the pub used to be like. We had a lovely time."

The recent visit to The Brown Cow was an early celebration ahead of her 99th birthday on August 7.

Pub staff treated Ada, her daughter, granddaughter and a friend of the family to lunch. They also gave Ada a pub glass as a souvenir, which the care home intends to have engraved.

Holt House regularly gives older residents their 'perfect wish', which is presented to them on a golden ticket.

Kerry said: "Eighty per cent of our residents have alzheimer's or dementia — they have lots of needs — so we want residents to have a perfect wish every year. They absolutely love it. We make a big thing of these outings and present them with their golden envelope; it's like Willy Wonka's golden ticket.

"It is nice for them to reminisce about the good old days."

Residents have enjoyed visits from Costa baristas who set up a coffee shop at the home, been on tours of Manchester United's ground, and enjoyed an afternoon tea at Slattery's, to name a few.

Anita said: "I would like to express my appreciation to the staff at Holt House for organising such a lovely outing for mum, and for their wonderful care."