Published: 06:00, 22 July 2021
| Updated: 17:51, 22 July 2021
One of Kent's longest-serving landladies will be remembered as a welcoming publican who made her pub “the best in the area”, loved ones say.
Popular Jackie Sutton died above the pub she ran for the last 27 years, the Smuggler’s Inn in Herne, on July 9, following a short period of ill-health.
The 52-year-old mum-of-three was renowned for the friendly manner with which she ran the village pub near Herne Bay, and her willingness to welcome new faces.
Husband Colin told KentOnline: “She made this the best pub in the area.
“We’ve had several couples come in the Smuggler’s from London while house hunting.
“They came in here, got the biggest welcome – and bought a house in Herne the next week.
“They’d come in and say ‘this is our pub now’.
“Herne will never be the same again.”
Jackie spent her early years in Balham and Blackheath pubs The Prince of Wales and Coach and Horses, which were run by her mum, Margaret Moran.
The pair, described as being like sisters, then moved into the Forester in Deal. Margaret ran the seaside tavern for 43 years, until her death last month.
“Most of the family on mum’s Irish side have pubs as well, so it was in the blood really,” Jackie’s son Patrick said.
“She had a massive heart and was the life and soul of the party.
“She was always trying to have a laugh and was so warm – she had a knack of making people feel comfortable and relaxed.
“She was extremely warm – if someone walked in here and didn’t know anyone, she’d make it her business to go over there and buy them a drink.
“It wasn’t just the pub that mattered to her – it was the community she fostered.
“She was a key part of the village community here.”
Upon leaving school at the age of 18, Jackie took on a job working for P&O Ferries.
It was not until seven years later that she took over the Smuggler’s Inn, beating 30 other candidates to the role.
The publican married Colin in 1999, and continued to run the pub alongside the 60-year-old over the intervening 21 years.
“She was gorgeous and fun-loving – I’ve never seen a woman so stunning,” Colin added.
“Jackie wouldn’t go to hospital. The nurses begged her to go, but she wanted to stay here – she loved it here.
“No one could believe she’d died. She was so young, so gorgeous. She’s left a massive hole.”
Jackie is survived by husband Colin and her three children, Patrick, Shannon and Eren.
Her funeral is on Friday, July 30, at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church for close family and friends.
It will be followed by a cremation in Margate, before a wake at the Smuggler’s Inn at 3pm which will be open for all.
The family has requested flowers, care of Beltinge and District Funeral Services in Reculver Road. Call 01227 363300.