Tributes pour in for popular pub landlord
TRIBUTES have been paid to Chris Ayris, the former landlord responsible for the renaming of the Regent Hotel in 1970, who died last weekend.
Chris moved his wife and three sons from Southampton to Swindon in 1970 to take over the running of what was known as the Central Hotel in Victoria Road.
The name was changed as a sign of the times, according to his son Vince, who has run an award-winning engraving service in Havelock Street for 32 years.
The pub and hotel remained in Chris’ hands for 12 years.
The family moved on to other pubs in Gloucester and Bristol, among others, before returning to the town after Chris retired in 1986 following two heart attacks.
Chris died, aged 77, at the Great Western Hospital on October 26 after succumbing to pneumonia. He had suffered two strokes within 20 minutes of each other on October 23 and contracted the lung condition during his time at the hospital.
Vince said in the week leading up to his death, Chris had been emotional and missing his wife, who died in September 2011. Vince, 51, of Broome Manor Lane, said: “He had given up. He had asked me around to his house on the Monday [October 21] night and said he wanted a serious word. “He just said: ‘I’ve had enough. I miss your mum, there are too many people on the planet and I don’t like watching the news anymore’.
“I told him I’m his son. I told him I loved him and he didn’t need to worry about mum’s stuff,”Vince said.
Vince brought his father to his own house to spend time with his granddaughters on the Wednesday. Vince gave him a book he had bought him, and the moment his father opened it he suffered the first of his two strokes. The second stroke paralysed him and he ultimately died on the same date as his own mother did, 41 years previous.
Under Chris’ management, the Regent became the base of the Swindon Talisman fishing team and a regular for football fans. Vince said his father had been good friends with Godfrey Hargreaves, the former captain of the Talisman team, who died last month. This news had greatly saddened the former Regent manager.
“He had a great time at the Regent,” said Vince. “It was a very successful pub.
“A lot of famous faces were seen there over the years, including Sue Nicholls of Coronation Street. She even bought mum and dad a cheese cutter after her stay.”
Chris will be cremated on November 11, in Kingsdown Crematorium at 2.15pm. The family ask for flowers from family only, though donations to the Stroke Association and Diabetes UK would be appreciated.Donations should be sent to Hillier Funeral Service.