Ethne Willoughby was a publican who ran an “exclusive inn” between Amersham and Princes Riseborough in Buckinghamshire and was the National President of the Licenced Victuallers Association. She was brought to the Rovers one lunchtime in August 1972 by Nellie Harvey and Annie Walker insisted that the pub was made immaculate for her with snacks on the bar and all the men wearing ties and behaving themselves. In the event, Mrs Willoughby had few pretensions, admitting to Nellie that her customers might not be rough and ready in her establishment but they could be heard crashing through the night once they got behind their front doors. She expressed an interest in the Preston Guild and unwittingly set up a competition between Annie and Nellie as to who could procure her a ticket for an LV luncheon at the Guild. Annie invited Ethne to lunch on the Wednesday and Nellie picked her up from the Midland Hotel to bring her to the appointment, admitting to Annie beforehand that she’d been unable to get her a ticket for the Guild.
Ethne turned up while a boisterous darts match was in progress and Nellie gleefully pointed out the fact but Ethne countered by saying that she wished some of her customers did the same as her establishment mid-week was a bit like Tutankhamen’s tomb. Ethne heard about the lack of tickets for the Guild and commented that there was a remote possibility that before the event one of the Weatherfield landladies might drop out, thus freeing up a ticket. Nellie told Annie she was voted by the local LVA to give a presentation to the Preston branch to mark the guild so she couldn't give up her ticket. Annie therefore submitted her place to their visitor although she was pleased to receive a heartfelt invitation to Bucks in return.
At the end of the year, Annie was pleased to receive a Christmas card from Ethne and even more pleased to find out that one hadn't been received by Nellie.