The family of a former landlord who died have said he was “a man loved by everyone.”
Peter Russell died peacefully at his home in Kettering Road on February 9, aged 74.
He was the landlord of the Crown & Cushion, in Wellingborough Road, for 26 years with his wife, Marlene.
She said: “The years we spent at the pub were some of the happiest of my life. It was wonderful.
“I married him when he was 18 and we had a wonderful life together.
Before his name was above the Crown & Cushion’s door, he worked much of his life as a chrome polisher.
“On one great occasion he polished the chrome windows on the Queen’s carriage,” Marlene said.
They took over the Crown & Cushion in 1985. At the height of their career together. they pulled 1,000 pints a day and became a flagship pub for Manns & Norwich Brewery.
Peter’s son Stuart, 54, said: “They were a remarkable pair. That pub was so busy sometimes you couldn’t even get in. They were the brewer’s number one pub for years.
“He was an amazing individual. He managed to make everybody feel welcome and at ease, and he made everybody laugh.
“Whether you were a new customer or an old favourite, whenever you came in or left, he would give you a thumbs-up and a smile.
“On a few occasions, a patient would escape from the St Andrew’s hospital nearby. There would be a panic to find them. But on many occasions they found them in the pub chatting with my dad, where he gave them a drink and asked how they were. The pub was like a beacon and people just gravitated to him.”
Peter retired in 2011. He battled Parkinson’s and diabetes in his last years, and also suffered two heart attacks.
“He never once complained,” Stuart said. “He was once run over by a car in his backyard. Never complained.
“He only got to enjoy his retirement for five years but he was happy. He bet everyday. He loved life.
“It came as a shock when he died. You came to think he was indestructible.”
Peter’s funeral will be at St Matthew’s Church, The Drive, in Kingsley. A date has not yet been set.
“I think it will be a very popular event,” Stuart said. “Generations came through that pub and so many met him.
“I think they will fill the church, and St Matthew’s can seat 800.”