Tributes paid to ‘Mr Great Yarmouth’ Ted Lees

Tributes have been paid to a former hotelier dubbed 'Mr Great Yarmouth' who dedicated much of his life to the town.

Well-known Ted Lees died at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston on February 12 aged 88.

Mr Lees, who lived in South Walsham with his wife Pat, owned the Sandringham Hotel in Great Yarmouth, now the Pub on the Prom, during the 1960s and 1970s and the venue was renowned for its wonderful parties.

Paying tribute to her late husband, Mrs Lees said: 'He was the owner for more than 10 years and was very famous for his parties.

'I do not think there was an institution or a club in the surrounding district that didn't have a party at the Sandringham Hotel.

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'Everybody knew him. He started with children's parties and he was known as 'Uncle Ted' by about half the children in Great Yarmouth. He was very much involved in the town and hugely fond of it. People say he was Mr Great Yarmouth.'

Mr Lees was the longest serving member of Great Yarmouth Rotary Club and once served as its president.

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He was a Mason, a member of the Round Table, and served on Great Yarmouth Borough Council for many years as a councillor for Hemsby.

'He was very charismatic and everybody says he was a character,' said Mrs Lees.

Mr Lees was born in Slough. He served in the second world war and was a captain in the Black Watch.

He had four sons with his first wife Beryl. Sadly, his eldest son Andrew, an environmentalist, who was campaigns director for Friends of the Earth, died from heat stroke during a trip to Madagascar in 1994.

Mr Lees leaves eight grandchildren.

Mrs Lees said: 'I met him first with my WI, which I was president of at the time, when we used to go to the hotel for Christmas lunch and party evenings.

'We met again purely by accident in 1994 at a Conservative function. I was standing there with about 200 people waiting for John Major to arrive and I heard a voice behind me. I said 'You are Ted Lees aren't you?'

'I didn't know whether he would remember me, but we started chatting and we found out that I had lost my husband the previous year and he had lost his wife the previous year. A few days later he phoned up and asked if I would like to go for a drink. We married in 1996.'

Mrs Lees described her late husband as having an 'outgoing and ebullient' personality.

'He was the life and soul of the party and never said an unkind word about anybody,' she said.

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