Wetherspoons superfans in race against time to visit 39 pubs before closures

A couple have been hailed Wetherspoons superfans after visiting nearly 400 of its pubs – but they face a race against time to visit them all before they close.

Phil, 74, and Julie Fox, 71, travel far and wide to pay homage to each of the chain's pubs and even celebrated their 40th anniversary at their local in West Yorkshire.

Now, the determined couple has vowed to travel to the 39 venues that are facing closure so they can say goodbye.

READ MORE Wetherspoons to shut 7 more pubs – read full list of boozers we know are closing

Phil and his former Sun Page 3 girl wife said they were "shocked" to hear about the cutbacks, which sadly includes their local The Percy Shaw in Halifax.

The enterprise decided to cull the pubs, which will remain open during the sales process, after previously warning it could lose £30m due to rising staff wages and repairs.

Those up for sale are located throughout the country, from the Thomas Leaper, in Derby, to the Bankers Draft, in London, and the Billiard Hall, in West Bromwich.

Phil said he would be “gutted” if any further pubs were added to the list.

He added: “I would be gutted, really upset. I meet up once a month in the pub with some lads I used to knock around with in my teens.

“It’s somewhere for us old fellas to go. Rather than having daycare, we have Wetherspoon, and if they close them down, where will folks of my age go?”

The couple initially set out to sample 100 of the bars but have notched almost quadruple that figure after travelling the length and breadth of Britain in search of pints.

They've since visited a whopping 395 Wetherspoon pubs and hope to make it 400 by Christmas.

The furthest the couple from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, have gone to quench their thirst during their 18-year “hobby” is a pub in St. Ives, Cornwall – nearly 400 miles away.

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In the past, the retired pair celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by visiting newly opened pubs, while also regularly scheduling holidays so they can add to their tally.

Grandfather-of-five Phil said he fell in love with Wetherspoon pubs almost 20 years ago when his car broke down and he'd ducked into one of their boozers for some respite.

He struck upon the idea of counting up how many Wetherspoon pubs he and his wife had visited after he retired at the age of 60 in 2007.

He said: “One day we were sat in the Obediah Brooke Wetherspoon pub, in Cleckheaton, and I and my wife ran out of conversation.

“So I just said, ‘I wonder how many Wetherspoons we’ve been in?’ We sat there and by the time we’d had another drink, I said we’re up to about 60 odd.”

Of all the pubs Phil has visited with Julie, he ranks The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, in Keswick as his favourite.

He explained: “It’s a converted magistrates court and police station. You can sit in the converted two cells and drink and eat.

“Where the magistrate sits, you can sit there, and where the defendant sits, there’s just enough room for a small table, so two people can sit in there.”

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