TRIBUTES have been received for a popular Weymouth pub landlord who has died suddenly.
Dennis Sheppard helped champion the local live music scene by organising regular sessions for bands and singers.
Dennis, 60, died after falling down the stairs at the Edinburgh House of Sounds pub in St Thomas Street after it had closed for the night. He suffered a brain haemorrhage and died in hospital in the early hours of the following morning.
Dennis’s wife Sue said the couple were preparing to retire from the business they had run for almost 20 years when tragedy struck.
But despite failing health, Dennis didn’t want to leave the pub, which is one of the town’s longest-established live music venues.
“He got his way in the end, by dying in the place he loved,” said Sue.
She said he loved music and was known by his catchphrase of ‘rock‘n’roll’.
Sue said: “He had become unwell in the last few years. He had heart problems and suffered blackouts.
“I wanted him to leave the pub but he wanted to stay here. It was looking like we would have to drag him out kicking and screaming.”
Dennis was born in Bristol and was a talented signwriter before he went into the pub trade.
He met Weymouth girl Sue in Bristol and they moved to Dorset in the early 1980s.
They have two sons, Paul, 33, and Steven, 31, as well as grandson, Cole, six.
Dennis worked as a barman in many local hostelries include the Duke of Albany, the Market House and the Duke of Cornwall. By day he produced signs for businesses including the distinctive Verdis nightclub logo.
Sue said: “He fancied himself something rotten when he was younger, he used to look in shop windows to check he was all right.”
She added: “He was very funny and very much a gentleman. If blokes swore in the bar he would have a go at them. He was such a good barman – everyone wanted him to work for them.”
Dennis started working at the Duke of Edinburgh pub and was employed as manager but the couple were ‘dropped in at the deep end’ when they were forced to take it over after licensee Malcolm ‘Dykie’ Stocker suddenly disappeared.
The couple transformed the pub into a music venue and added music memorabilia to the walls including guitars, posters and pictures of bands.
Sue said: “We started calling it the House of Sounds.
“We were only supposed to be here for three months but we ended up staying and started live music sessions.
“People loved it. We started with a Sunday gig and it grew from there.
“Dennis enjoyed the life, the pub was his baby. We hardly had holidays because so much of our time was spent here.”
The funeral will be held at Weymouth Crematorium on Tuesday, October 30, at 11.30am.