Kentish Express Ashford & District

Sadness at death of restaurant boss

Family’s tribute to popular Tenterden figure


The family of a much-loved Turkish restaurant founder have described him as a “true gentleman” following his death a day after his 70th birthday.

Mehmet Ozel, known to most people as George, was a popular face at the Ozgur Restaurant in Tenterden, which he opened in 1991.

The grandfathe­r-of-four died from heart failure in Turkey with his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Gullu, by his side.

Paying tribute on behalf of his family, his daughter, Arzu, described him as a “true believer of hospitalit­y”.

“To him, his customers were his friends, his family even,” she said.

“He was dedicated to his restaurant, and wanted to provide a first-class service, his hard work paid off and he won numerous

awards over the years.”

George was born in a rural village to Kurdish parents in south-eastern Turkey.

He married his wife, Gullu, in 1972 before arriving in the UK a year later and continued working in restaurant­s in London.

He opened Faversham Kebab

House in 1983 and bought the neighbouri­ng music shop and post office four years later, renovating it into the popular restaurant it is today.

George expanded his business in 1991 when he opened the Ozgur Restaurant in Tenterden high street, and in 2003, launched the Moonlight Cafe in Faversham.

Due to heart problems, he relinquish­ed control over the two latter businesses to focus on Faversham Kebab.

George was sadly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019.

He would travel to Turkey frequently for treatment and decided to stay there due to the coronaviru­s pandemic.

He died on January 18 and was buried two days later in Istanbul. His children are planning a service in the UK at a later date.

 ??  ?? Mehmet Ozel, founder of the Ozgur Restaurant
Mehmet Ozel, founder of the Ozgur Restaurant

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