Pub landlord’s fond farewell
Dozens of riders join motorcade
MORE than 100 people and dozens of riders turned out for the funeral procession of a beloved pub landlord.
Paul Russell, landlord of The Old Oyster House in Locksway Road, Milton, since 2004, died after suffering heart failure while driving in Shirley Avenue on Saturday, April 17.
His sudden passing saw the community rally to support his wife Cath, with more than £3,000 raised to pay for the pub’s bills while the landlady closed the venue and focused on funeral arrangements.
Now the community has once again left Cath overwhelmed, as more than 100 people turned out to pay their respects as his funeral procession left the Old Oyster House to travel to The Oaks Crematorium in Havant yesterday afternoon.
Dozens of motorbike and scooter riders joined the motorcade to honour the Lambretta-loving landlord.
Paul’s old red Lambretta – ‘his pride and joy’ according to Cath – was parked outside the front of the pub as a memento to the much-missed fixture of the community.
Cath said: ‘I’m in shock – all these people for Paul. I’m overwhelmed. There’s even people I didn’t expect to be here, old school friends I haven’t seen for ages.
‘We are such a great community.
‘It’s amazing to have his bike here. He had it for years and it was his pride and joy.’
Paul’s son Joe says the love and respect shown to his father comes down to the landlord being a true ‘Pompey boy’.
The 28-year-old said: ‘It’s incredible the support my family have had over the last two or three weeks. We are all extremely grateful.
‘Seeing everyone shows how loved my dad was.’
He added: ‘He was cheeky, he had his moments where he could be the class clown. And he loved the community.’
Friends among the crowd said the landlord was ‘always there for everyone’.
Family friend and pub regular Deborah Sharp said: ‘I have known Paul for more than 30 years. He was a lovely bloke... he had a heart of gold.
‘Seeing everyone here, he would be in his element.
‘He will be up there looking down, loving to see all these people that have come out.’
Paul bought the pub’s lease as a wedding gift to Cath in 2004, and now the landlady is ready to reopen the pub that holds such a special place in her heart.
She said: ‘I have got to get back to normal, I have got to get back open, and I have to do it for Paul.’
The Old Oyster house will reopen on Saturday, May 15, for outdoor service.
The pub will open 12pm to 8pm, and then 12pm to 6pm the next day on Sunday.
Indoor service will resume as restrictions lift across the country on Monday, May 17.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the pub’s fundraiser, set up by a family friend, can do so by visiting justgiving. com/crowdfunding/brooker
It’s incredible the support my family have had over the last two or three weeks. Joe Russell