OCTOGENARIAN Jim Tasker is an odds-on favourite with staff at the Leeds bookies he’s visited every day bar Christmas Days for the past quarter of a century.
The 87-year-old was the first customer to have a flutter when the Betfred shop opened on Street Lane at Roundhay in 1993.
And he has visited the shop every day it has been open, making him Betfred’s most loyal customer.
Jim is such a popular character at the bookies that staff always go the extra furlong to care for him.
Retired glass merchant Jim, who was a radar mechanic servicing Canberra planes during his National Service, is expecting a busy family Christmas as he’s a father of two with five
grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
But His daughter Debbie Rutherford said he is upset as he won’t be seeing the three members of staff he calls Fred’s Angels on Christmas Day as the shop will be closed.
Debbie wrote to Betfred boss Fred Done in praise of manager Wendy Hill, 46, deputy manager Lorraine Martin, 54 and assistant manager Helen Swires, 24.
Debbie wrote: “I want to highly commend all the staff at Betfred on Street Lane, Leeds for the fantastic care they take of my elderly father, who is 87 and has been going to this branch for
the last 25-years.
“They really do go above and beyond for him. I just felt I needed to pass this on.”
The kindly trio help Jim with his shopping, visited him in hospital after he hurt himself falling at his flat in nearby Shadwell, escort him to and from his taxi.
They also ensure his regular table is free so he can hold court with his friends while tucking into his toast with strawberry jam breakfast, washed down with tea from his own mug.
Debbie said: “Dad wouldn’t go in a care home because he wouldn’t be able to get to Betfred every morning.
“He can be grumpy but the ladies at the bookies have so much patience and always cheer him up.
“Fred should be proud of them. It’s not like my dad spends the family silver there just enjoys his bingo and the odd flutter on the horses.
“He sees Betfred as his second home. If he doesn’t turn up, or is late any day, the staff ring me up, they care so much about him.”
Jim said: “ The girls are just marvellous, gorgeous and so kind to me.
"I was first in the shop in 1993 when it opened – and I can’t remember missing a day apart from Christmas Days.
"I have had some half decent wins over the years but nowadays I just do a bit on the bingo which keeps me active.
"The truth is my wife, who sadly I have lost now, used to like me out of way I think so I camd here to the bookies."
Betfred boss Fred Done said: “It is heart warming to hear of the way our staff at Roundhay have gone the extra mile. Jim’s a great character and when he reaches his 90th year I’ll join him
to toast the occasion.”