A PUB landlord is ready to call last orders after decades of pulling pints in a town centre.

Frank Bowman, who runs Frankies, in Darlington with his daughter Susannah Cosgrove and her husband Shaun Cosgrove, will be retiring at the end of the month.

The popular pub in Skinnergate, which has been open for 11 years, will be closing at the end of January as their lease expires.

Mr Bowman, who has been working in pubs around the town since the 1980s, said: "It's going to be a big miss. When I come to work it's like having a day out.

"It's the end of an era really."

The 73-year-old, who lives in Darlington, started working behind the bar at Nestfield Club, in Albert Hill, in the 1980s before moving on to work at The George, in Bondgate and the Lord's Tavern, in Stockton.

He also went on to manage Hogans, next to the train station and The Nags Head, in Tubwell Row before opening Frankies with his family.

Mr Bowman, who is from Albert Hill, added: "Everyone is sad. The pub isn't like a lot of the other ones in the town.

"I'd like to thank everyone for the good times I've had. When they see me out, I hope they make sure they get me a half.

"I've always liked a drink and had a great time. We've had more good times than bad times.

"I'll miss the craic and the banter."

Mrs Cosgrove added: "I'm very emotional. It's sad. It was a very hard decision to make.

"I'm going to miss everyone, all our lovely customers and all the people who have stuck by us.

"They're like my second family."

Since making the announcement, regulars have been paying tribute to the well-known landlord.

Phil Hull, from Darlington, said: "When this place closes it will be sadly missed.

"I know I'll really miss it and my friends will too. They all look forward to coming here and meeting friends and having a good conversation and a good laugh.

"There's nowhere else like it in Darlington."

Another regular Christopher Wardell added: "I've followed Frank wherever he's been. He served me my first pint of ale when I was skiving from a maths lesson at school, and when it was my 18th birthday a couple of years later, he told me that he was going to bar me for ten minutes because he had been serving me in his pub for a couple of years and he hadn't realised how old I was, but when he asks me how old I am these days, I tell him I'm 75."

He added: "I know people who Frank has served throughout the years and many of them are going to call in to see him for a pint before the pub closes.

"For me, personally, it will be a sad day and I'm going to miss him but I'll never forget the laughs we have all shared with him, Shaun and Susannah in the pubs they've worked at.

"He is, and I truly mean this, the last of the great landlords and I wish him a long and happy retirement."