Belfast Telegraph

Pubs of Ulster Pub of the Year Awards: JD Tipler's in Portadown is a memorial to her lost father for barwoman Jordyn Busby

By Ivan Little

The popular pub that pretty Jordyn Busby helps to run in Portadown is more than just a business for the former pupil of one of Prince Charles' old schools -- it's also a living memorial to her tragic dad who was killed in a freak accident.

Go-getter building firm boss and entrepreneur Nevin Busby, who owned a cinema and restaurants, opened JP Tipler's bar in 1997 but two years later he died after a wall collapsed on him on a building site in Dundalk.

But 15 years on from their devastating loss, Jordyn, who has just made the final for this year's Best Barperson gong at the annual Pubs of Ulster Pub of the Year Awards, her brother Dane and their mother Vivienne are keeping Nevin's legacy alive by ensuring that the pub he built on the Killicomaine Road is the success story he dreamed it would be.

"This place is so much part of him. He got a lot of the materials he used to give the pub its character came from his family farm and from the old Wade's factory in Portadown." said 21-year-old Jordyn who was the apple of her father's eye and who was named by Nevin after a character in his favourite movie Cocktail which aptly enough was about a bartender.

Jordyn and her 20 year old brother Dane -- the J and the D in the pub's name -- help their mum to run Tipler's with a staff of around 18 including three chefs.

And making it a real family affair is Jordyn's maternal grandmother Jean Patterson who regularly lends a hand in Tipler's.

"She's my hero" said Jordyn, "She may be 78 but she's faster than many of the rest of us."

As well as working in the bar Jordyn is also studying for a business degree.

She was initially educated in Portadown but spent two years at Gordonstoun, the Scottish school famously attended by a young Prince Charles and where at least one foreign princess who had her own personal security team was among Jordyn's contemporaries.

Gordonstoun is renowned not only for its high educational standards but also its no-nonsense discipline.

Jordyn candidly admitted: "I was a terrible teenager but Gordonstoun was the making of me. I loved it. They treated all of us like human beings and the teachers were always there for us."

On returning home, Jordyn went to Belfast Met and then latterly to the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.

But JD Tipler's has always been a major part of her life and she somehow manages to combine her work in the pub with her studies. Regular customers think nothing of seeing Jordyn serving them a pint one minute and ensconcing herself in her books and calculators the next.

With their surname it's not surprising that the busy Busbys are into their football. They occasionally sponsor Portadown F.C. whose directors eat in the bar before home games.

Jordyn was delighted to learn that she'd made the short list for this year's Barperson of the year title at the Pubs of Ulster awards.

Her enthusiasm and passion for her job are infectious: "I've been working here for five years now and I can honestly say that in all that time there have only been one or two days that I haven't wanted to come in."

Her philosophy is simple.

"I try to make sure I am happy and hopefully that will come across to customers. They don't want to see staff coming in here with a sour face," she told me.

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