WHEN John and Lynn O’Shaughnessy started pulling pints at a Prestwich pub in the 1970s to earn a little extra cash, little did they know that the casual stopgap would lead to a romance to stand the test of time.

John had been a regular at the Woodthorpe Hotel since 1969 and, although he was working in contract catering, he soon started to lend a hand when the pub was busy.

A few years later in 1971, Lynn, who was working as a comptometer operator, similarly started to do casual shifts at the pub to “help put money towards holidays”.

“I started giving Lynn a lift home, a couple of nights a week, after work,” John said

“Sometimes we`d go out for dinner with the landlord and landlady, Fred and Alice Young.”

Love quickly blossomed between the two young barkeeps as friendship became courtship, and soon church bells were ringing for the young couple.

John said: “We started going out and then got engaged ­— though I didn’t propose in the pub. She asked me. We got married in 1971 ­— almost 50 years ago.”

The newlyweds remained at the Woodthorpe for a few more years before John found it too difficult to juggle the bartending with his catering business.

The couple, now both aged 70, who have three children and seven grandchildren, eventually upped sticks to Magor in South Wales 12 years ago.

However when the family recently returned to North Manchester to visit relatives John and Lynn’s eldest son, 45-year-old David, decided he would try to make the trip extra special.

He said: “Without the Woodthorpe none of us would have existed. So we approached the brewery so mum and dad could be made a fuss of and get to pull a pint again for old time`s sake.”

After almost five decades the couple made a nostalgic return to the Woodthorpe for plenty of reminiscing and a cheeky pint of Joseph Holt’s beer.

John said: “It brought back so many memories it was the place where I met Lynn so it is a very special place for both of us.”