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Tributes paid to beloved barman

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:07 01 August 2010

HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to the bar manager of The Artichoke at Broome, who passed away suddenly just days before Christmas.

Nicholas Stimpson, who collapsed and died at home aged 47, was just 5ft 2ins, but was described as a huge character with a big heart.

HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to the bar manager of The Artichoke at Broome, who passed away suddenly just days before Christmas.

Nicholas Stimpson, who collapsed and died at home aged 47, was just 5ft 2ins, but was described as a huge character with a big heart.

He worked for John Craft and Nicki Howard for 12 years at all three pubs they owned and had become an honorary member of their family.

He lived with his mother Astrid in Norwich, but he was a popular face across the Waveney valley.

Nick, as he was known, returned home from his day shift at the country pub on Saturday, December 19, and collapsed later in the evening. He was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, but tragically died the following morning.

Although he also worked for John and Nicki at St Andrews Tavern and the Kings Arms, both in Norwich, he and Nicki had known each other for around 30 years, having met while working in the legal profession.

Nick decided to change careers and gained bar experience from pulling pints at the Norwich Conservative Club.

For the past four years he had been the bar manager at The Artichoke, travelling down every day by bus, knowing each of the drivers personally.

John said: "He was kind, full of life and put himself out to please anyone. He loved politics, horse racing, stamp collecting and he had an amazing grasp of facts and figures through history.

“I was a legal secretary in about 1980 and he was a legal clerk at another firm. We used to meet in the Norfolk Club where we would have to go to exchange post," added Nicki. “He was a little chap, but he had a huge character and a huge personality. He loved working for us and we loved him working here.”

The Artichoke won the Camra Norfolk pub of the year last year, which the couple attributed to Nick.

“He was so proud, but it was because of him we won. He was so good with all the customers,” said John.

“He was 5ft 2 ¼ inches tall, the same height as Tom Cruise. He used to tell us that,” said Nicki. “When we had the building work done here, the builders loved him so they made him a wooden stool to stand on behind the bar. He was an integral part of our lives and he is really going to be missed."

Around 100 people attended his funeral on Wednesday, January 6, held at St Peters Church in Crostwick, Norwich. A wake was held by his family, while John and Nicki organised a celebration of his life back at The Artichoke toasting him with his favourite real ale Charles Wells Bombardier.

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