Town mourns 'the best landlord in Woodbridge'
PUBLISHED: 12:47 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:08 13 September 2019
A well known and much loved former publican in Woodbridge has died after 25 years of pulling pints.
Eric Smith, 86, who grew up in Melton, was a respected man whose no-nonsense attitude won him many fans over the years, least of all his own family.
Mr Smith ran three pubs in the Woodbridge area in his time starting with The Cross, which has now become the East Coast Diner, before moving on to the stunning location of The Ramsholt Arms.
He ended his pub career with a 15-year stint at The Angel in Theatre Street and is mostly remembered for his smart attire, his love of animals and his witty humour.
Born in 1933, Mr Smith experienced various professions over the years including weapons trainer during National Service, postman, chauffeur and taxi inspector.
But it is his time running the local pubs that he will be best remembered for.
Dubbed as "the best landlord in Woodbridge", Mr Smith died on August 23 surrounded by his beloved family including his wife Shirley and daughters Alison and Tracy.
But not before having one last laugh before he gently went on his way.
His daughter Tracy explained: "He was asleep for a long while. We all thought it was the end and there was a very sombre mood in the room. He abruptly woke up to look at us and said 'Am I alive?'
'Yes Dad' we replied.
'Well that's disgraceful, I thought I would have died by now, talk about a drama queen' he said, then promptly sat up.
"We all fell about laughing."
Unfortunately, Mr Smith died the next day leaving a big hole in the lives of not only his family, but all who had come to know and love him in the Woodbridge area.
His funeral was held last week at St Andrew's Church in Melton with many tributes paid to the larger than life character of the Deben district.
Those included the current landlord of The Angel, Councillor Chris Mapey, who said: "It's a pleasure to be following in his footsteps as custodian of The Angel.
"Hopefully we can do justice to his legacy as not only a landlord of a great pub, but be involved with many aspects of the local community."