Village turns out to pay tribute to crash landlord
A local businessman has described how villagers paid a colourful tribute to the ‘congenial’ owner of an highly-regarded pub after his tragic death. Ian Barton died in hospital five days after he was involved in a crash on the A36, which also claimed the life of Frome College teacher Anna Kirsopp-lewis and her unborn child. Mr Barton, 62, was initially taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol following the crash but died from his injuries on December 23. He is said to have revived the popular and respected Wheatsheaf pub at Combe Hay along with his wife, Adele. Property developer Trevor Osborne was a friend and near neighbour to Mr Barton in Combe Hay. He described how villagers turned out to pay a colourful tribute to Mr Barton and offer support to his family on Christmas Eve - the day after his death. Mr Osborne said: “At Combe Hay, Christmas 2018 was tinged with sadness as residents learnt of the death of Ian Barton, the congenial host and owner of The Wheatsheaf - the village hostelry which Ian and his devoted wife, Adele, saved some 10 years ago. “His family and the village have lost a much-loved and popular landlord of the best gastropub and restaurant south of the city. “Over the years, the village has become accustomed to the sound of a helicopter bringing national figures to The Wheatsheaf to dine, all attracted by the growing reputation of a family-created and run country restaurant. “Ian beamed a warm welcome as he offered great advice both as to the food and the wonderful wine cellar which he had developed. “Christmas Eve fell on the day following the withdrawal of Ian’s life support when it became clear that his survival could not be achieved. Courageously, on Christmas Eve morning, it was announced carol singing planned for the Church choir and the Villagers would proceed. “Ian would be proud that the village turned out wearing the boldest, most outrageous shirts as a tribute to his sartorial preferences and to support Adele, James, Tom and Daisy on one of the sorriest days imaginable.” An inquest opened into Mr Barton’s death on January 3 and was adjourned for investigations to take place. He was formerly a director of Lansdown of Bath motor dealer.