CUSTOMERS and staff at a Somerset pub are in shock after the popular owner died after a short illness.
Steve Jones, 48, had been at the Phoenix Hotel, on Fore Street, Chard, for over 20 years.
He started working in Phoenix in 1999 and became its director before taking over in 2008 with his business partner Graham Baker after the men of the city formed WKD Properties.
Steve had previously worked at the Happy Return, in East Street.
He was born in the London area and came to Somerset with his parents as a teenager, studying at Holyrood School.
He then enjoyed a year off, traveling and exploring Australia before returning to Chard.
Steve passed away peacefully on July 11 after a short illness.
He leaves a wife, Sarah, sons Jamie and Lucas and a nephew, Reece.
Jamie said: “He loved Somerset and came back here after his time in Australia.
“He liked working in the pub, where he was very popular.
“He was very caring and looked after his staff and regulars.”
Steve enjoyed playing on the pub’s pool and darts teams and was a fanatical Liverpool supporter.
His funeral is at Taunton Deane Crematorium at noon on Wednesday August 3.
Those present are asked not to wear black and if possible to take or wear a Liverpool flag or scarf.
Donations can be made for Alopecia UK at the services or via the funeral director at www.bgibbsfuneralservices.co.uk or sent c/o B. Gibbs Funeral Services Ltd. The Manse, 28 Fore Street, Chard, TA20 1PT. Telephone 01460 66100.