Tributes to Robbie Lyons, publican of George Hotel for two decades
- Credit: IAN CARTER
Tributes have been paid to a well-known publican from Chatteris who has died aged 66.
Robbie Lyons, who took over The George Hotel in 2000 and transformed the over 250-year-old building into a modern community hub, died there on April 24.
In December the licensee, who has been in the hospitality industry for four decades, was among the recipients in the Star Pubs & Bars awards.
The award, given by the pub’s owner, highlighted the contribution that Robbie has made to local life, including providing electricity for Chatteris’ Christmas Lights.
A tribute posted by The George Hotel on social media reads: "It is with much sadness and a heavy heart that we have said goodbye to Robbie Lyons.
"You will be sadly missed for your kindness, your sense of humour, your bad language and just being you.
"Sleep tight, we will miss you xxx."
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Having transformed the pub from a little used, unloved local into a hub of the community employing 15 staff, Robbie said in December: “2020 has been the toughest year to date.
“I love the social side of running a pub and missed all the regulars during the lockdowns.”
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Robbie, who comes from Ireland, described Chatteris as “a lovely little town” that has “become home; the people are fantastic”.
As well as investing in a major refurbishment, Robbie created an 80-seat garden with space for children to play, revamped the letting rooms, introduced entertainment and fundraisers for local charities.
He also brought in homemade food featuring Irish stew and Sunday roasts as specialties.
A death notice reads: "Formerly of Portarlington, County Offaly, Robbie was the loving son of the late Dennis and Polly and dear brother of the late Dermot.
"He will be sadly missed by his brothers Jimmy, Dinny, Raymond, Martin and Kevin, sisters Tanya, Eileen and Ann-Marie, as well as nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
One of Robbie's friends, Jonathan Capper, said: “Rest in peace my dear old friend.
“Your passing tears a hole in my heart. You will be sadly and sorely missed. I am so pleased that I knew you.”