Village mourns loss at heart of community

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VILLAGERS are in mourning after the unexpected death of their popular pub landlord.

Dennis Massey, who had been landlord of the Crown Inn in Twyford for 16 years, passed away peacefully in hospital on Saturday, November 12.

He lived just long enough to know about the birth of his new grandson the previous day, to son Kenny and daughter-in-law Sarah.

In tribute, the couple have given baby Leo the name Dennis as a middle name.

Dennis was born in 1937 and grew up in Launton. After the death of his father Fred when Dennis was just 11 months old, his mum Eva bought him up alone before meeting Harry Stopp. They married and moved to Charndon where they took over the Roebuck Inn.

Dennis began work at the London Brick Company straight from Buckingham School, but took voluntary redundancy after suffering a back injury at work.

This led to him taking on the steward’s job at the popular Ashton Club in Bicester. And eight years on, he returned to the village of his birth, to become steward at Launton Sports and Social Club.

In September 1995, Dennis and his life partner Joan moved down the road to take over the Crown Inn, in Twyford.

Dennis was so well known in the area that the opening night was so well attended people were standing outside the front and back of the pub, unable to squeeze in.

A keen footballer, Dennis had a great love for sport, playing for Grendon Rangers, Calvert and Twyford.

He was been a keen follower of Manchester United, even naming his eldest son Duncan after Duncan Edwards, one of the ‘Busby Babes’ who died in the Munich Air Disaster.

As village landlord, Dennis was a great supporter of Twyford Cricket Club, and on a Saturday afternoon could always be found down at the ground watching the team, with a cup of tea in one hand and his binoculars in the other.

He was very proud of being a vice-president of the club which has now dedicated the 1st team players’ player award, to him as a memory of his commitment to the club.

As well as Joan, his partner of 36 years, proud family man Dennis leaves four children, Duncan, Neil, Dawn and Kenny, and six grandchildren.

The funeral will be at 1pm on Friday, November 25, at St Mary’s Church, Twyford.