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Funeral of Priory Hill Holiday Park, Leysdown, boss and Strawbs fan Michael Butcher today

Michael Butcher, one of Sheppey's most respected holiday park bosses, has died. He was 62.

He lost a long battle with leukaemia at his home in Danedale Avenue, Minster, on Sunday, May 5.

Friends and family have paid tribute to the kind, generous and fun-loving father and grandfather who ran Priory Hill Holiday Park, Leysdown.

Mike Butcher in fancy dress top hat during a disco night at Priroy Hill Holiday Park, Leysdwon (10138555)
Mike Butcher in fancy dress top hat during a disco night at Priroy Hill Holiday Park, Leysdwon (10138555)

His widow Pam said: "He would help anyone with any problems, no matter how big or small. He was thoughtful and caring. People felt privileged to call him a friend."

His older brother Phil said: "He was kind and generous. When not at work he would be home with his family. He was a doting grandad. They were the love of his life."

It was at Priory Hill, opened by the brothers' late mother and father 70 years ago, that Mike made many of his friends.

Mike Butcher, left, at Priory Hill with, from the left, Dave Lambert of The Strawbs, Mike's brother Phil and park manager Darren Lawrence (10138553)
Mike Butcher, left, at Priory Hill with, from the left, Dave Lambert of The Strawbs, Mike's brother Phil and park manager Darren Lawrence (10138553)

The wannabe guitarist would chat to bands, entertainers and wrestlers. The park's general manager Darren Lawrence, who worked with him for more than 30 years, said: "He was a great boss and friend. We went to many concerts together to see Neil Young, Bob Dylan and The Strawbs.

"He loved The Strawbs and even managed to convince their lead guitarist Dave Lambert to give him music lessons."

He added: "It was very hard for me calling bingo last Sunday but I remembered what Mike taught me: ' Nothing must ever stop the bingo'! He will be greatly missed around the park by everyone."

Brothers Mike and Phil Butcher celebrate the 50th anniversary of Priory Hill Holiday Park, Leysdown (10138557)
Brothers Mike and Phil Butcher celebrate the 50th anniversary of Priory Hill Holiday Park, Leysdown (10138557)

Mike was born at Sheppey General Hospital on February 18, 1957. The family lived in Warden Bay before moving behind Priory Hill and then Minster Road near what is now the Oasis Academy. Mike went to the Island's private Santa Maria primary school then the Licensed Victuallers' School in Slough with his brother in the 1960s.

He attended Thanet Technical College for business studies but business but loved a flutter, spending his winnings on fast cars, including a Corvette Stingray. He Olau Line ferries, sailing between Sheerness and Holland, as a handyman and met Pam on board.

The couple settled on Sheppey to bring up their children, sons Leon and James and daughter Alex. Mike, who also loved skiing, returned to the family business to help his brother run Priory Hill and carried on when Phil retired.

Mike was diagnosed with pre-leukaemia in 2012 and full leukaemia in 2017. He was given a stem cell transplant from his brother which doctors say extended his life by a year. He leaves three grandchildren, Gracie, Mia and Nico.

His funeral is today (Wednesday)at the Garden of England Cemetery, Bobbing, at 11am.

Flowers or donations to Cancer Research UK via Havill Funeral Services.

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