A fond farewell to Roy Wheeler, the 'rudest' landlord in town
PUB owner Roy Wheeler, fondly and famously known as the 'rudest' landlord in town, has died, aged 74.
Roy had been behind the bar of the Crown and Sceptre in St Marychurch, Torquay, for 38 years and has been praised for his remarkable knack of winning over punters — with his tongue-in-cheek insults and rudeness.
Heather, his wife, said: "He enjoyed playing that part in the bar and most people came in to be insulted. They enjoyed the banter.
"We have had a lot of laughs in this pub over the years."
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His funeral is being held on Thursday, September 12, at St Mary's Church at the top of St Marychurch precinct at 11am before a gathering at the pub.
Roy was born in Chelsea in London and was a lighterman on the River Thames during his early career.
He said his time on the docks helped him hone his particular style of customer service.
In 1989, the CAMRA good beer guide praised the well-kept pub.
It said: "The main attraction is the incredibly rude landlord whose ability to retain customers by continually insulting them is awesome."
The news of the nicest Mr Nasty spread throughout the country and he was interviewed on national radio by Matthew Kelly, who he happily insulted live on air.
Roy's son, Stuart, said: "His mum heard it and was mortified."
Roy met Heather aged 14 while out walking dogs and they married in Southfields in 1960.
Roy was doing his National Service and Heather was working for the Kenco Coffee Company — then a small business.
Roy worked with Youngs brewery in Wandsworth before the pair decided to run their own pub in Torquay in 1974.
Roy was a big real ale fan and the pub was in the CAMRA good beer guide for 30 years.
He had suffered ill health for about 10 years, but still managed to serve a few pints on some evenings.
Heather said: "Roy always worked. He wouldn't give up."
The family have received hundreds of cards and messages of sympathy.
"It is lovely because he was such a blunt man, but that was part of his charm," said Heather.
The couple raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years with their bar collections.
Roy was a member of the masons with the Lodge Concordia.
He was a dog lover and owned six Jack Russells at one time.
He leaves Heather, sons Stuart and David and grandsons Aaron and Conor.