Sons pay tribute to former Cromer hotel owner Peter Swann

The sons of a former Cromer hotel owner have paid tribute to their 'wonderful and good' father who passed away last month.

Peter Swann, of Seaview Cresent, Sheringham, died at his home on the morning of March 29 with his family by his side.

An 82-year-old father of eight, his two sons David, 54, and Robert Swann, 48, described their father as 'the life and soul of the party' and praised his dedication to his family and the hotel business.

Originally from Birkenhead, near Liverpool, Mr Swann moved to Norfolk after working in the Merchant Navy during the second world war - a career he started with the help of a friend who worked at a Liverpool shipping office.

They falsified documents and forged Mr Swann's father's signature so he could join at age of 14 years old. He soon found himself on the North Atlantic convoys but after a few weeks his mother received a visit from the school truancy officer asking why her son had been absent for so long.

No further action was taken however and a couple of months later Mr Swann turned 15 and was allowed to continue working.

But it was the hotel industry that brought him to Norfolk in the August of 1964, when he purchased the Craigside Hotel on St Mary's Road in Cromer.

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'It was a small hotel, with 22 bedrooms, a pool and a games room,' Robert said.

'It was full of fun times.'

David added: 'When people came to stay a lot of them never left and continued staying at the hotel for 20 or 30 years for holidays.'

It was a family affair and all of the children worked in the hotel, as well as Mr Swann's wife of 63-years Sheila.

Described as 'childhood sweethearts' Mr Swann's sons said he 'never left her side' and they would frequently organise barbecues on the beach for the guests.

'We used to have a good sing-song with the guests and cook for them on the beach,' David said.

'They were very happy times. Our father was a well respected man and even now former guests from Scotland, France, Norway, Spain and Holland have said they will come to the funeral.

'He was a wonderful and good man.'

Robert added: 'He was a grandfather to 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren and was such a lovely bloke, very humble too. His motto in life was if you work hard, play hard, but everything in moderation.

'It was an honour to call him father.'

? The funeral will take place at 11.30am at St Peter's Church, Cromer, on April 18. Everyone who knew Peter is welcome to attend and donations will be collected for charity. The service will be followed by drinks in Cromer's Cliftonville Hotel from 4pm.

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