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The Five Bells is Ringwould has reopened after the tragic death of manager

The Five Bells in Ringwould has reopened after its short closure following the sudden death of one of the managers.

Tony Merrett, 41, died on Wednesday, February 25. The cause of death is still unknown.

He leaves behind his partner of four-and-a-half years, John Guy, and their two spaniels Holly and Ivy.

Tony Merrett died suddenly
Tony Merrett died suddenly

Before taking on the management of the pub in Front Street in 2012, he worked as a health care assistant in Eastbourne, where he met Mr Guy, as well as an air steward for airlines including British Airways and Easyjet.

Mr Guy said: “That was his first love. He was going back in to it. He loved being in the air.”

Mr Merrett had recently undergone a medical examination to show he was fit for the job which he passed with flying colours. He was set to start his new part time role with Norwegian Air this month.

Mr Guy said: “He was the sort of person you met once and you loved him.

“That’s the only way to describe him.”

The landlord also enjoyed playing the organ and treated his dogs like his children.

“They were his everything.”

Tony Merrett, with his dog Holly, and partner John Guy outside the Ringwould pub
Tony Merrett, with his dog Holly, and partner John Guy outside the Ringwould pub

Keen to do his bit for charity, last year, he sponsored a children’s Halloween party in aid of the Cancer Care Club at Kent and Canterbury Hospital. He also insisted on having a drop box in the pub for the homeless where people could donate food and clothes.

The news has shocked many who knew him, near and far. Friends, pub guests and regulars have taken to Facebook to pay tribute.

John Sheridan posted: “R.I.P buddy, may your jokes and laughter never be forgotten. From us all you will be sadly missed.”

Jason Gisby said: “R.I.P Tony – a true gent and nice guy.”

Craig Sheridan said: “Still shocked. My heartfelt condolences to everyone.”

Mr Guy has thanked everyone for their kind wishes.

He said: “Everyone’s been so wonderful. People have said we weren’t landlords, we’re family. They’ve all pulled together for me.”

The funeral plans are on hold until the cause of death has been established.

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