Time called on 43-year career at iconic York tea rooms

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HIS WARM greetings have been offered to millions of visitors over the last 43 years but when he next wanders into a Bettys tea room it will be as a customer himself.

Alan Stockdale, who has been a familiar face to visitors to Bettys York in St Helen’s Square since the 1970s, has retired from his role as maitre d’ after decades of distinguished service.

Alan Stockdale, 68, the well loved maitre d' at Bettys in York who has retired after 43 years.  Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Alan Stockdale, 68, the well loved maitre d' at Bettys in York who has retired after 43 years. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Having started out in the restaurant trade as a trainee peeling vegetables at an eatery in Boroughbridge, Mr Stockdale, landed the head chef position at Bettys York at a time when the venue offered a more “continental” dining experience.

As the company evolved he became maitre d’, a position he held for around 30 years and while working at front of house he was to meet his now wife of 31 years, Wendy, who was employed as a waitress.

Upon his retirement, he was hailed by Bettys as a “well loved maitre d’ who has long been an unofficial ambassador for the City” and whose warmth and dedication to “outstanding customer service” has won him much affection from local and international visitors to Bettys and to the city of York itself.

Mr Stockdale, 68, who lives in York and has a daughter, intends to enjoy seeing more of his family and pursuing his hobbies.

He said Bettys is a special place to work.

“It is a busy environment but has a feeling of family about it. There is a spirit there that has been engendered over the years and it’s like leaving a huge extended family which is hard to do. It’s still a big part of me and I will still be visiting.”

Mr Stockdale said one of his many highlights in the job was when he gave a morning-long crash course in being a waiter at the tea room to impressionist Rory Bremner as part of a TV series he was filming.

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