How a South Shields girl became Devon town’s longest-serving landlady

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Tributes have been paid to a former South Tynesider who became Torbay’s longest-serving landlady.

Heather Wheeler, who grew up in South Shields, has died at the age of 76.

After leaving the borough with her parents as a teen, the family relocated to Wandsworth, in London.

But the mother-of-two later decided to head to the west country with husband Roy and the pair took over the Crown and Sceptre pub in St Marychurch in 1975.

After Roy died in 2013, she ran the pub with her son David.

David said: “She was working right up until the end. She went into Torbay Hospital on Thursday, September 17, and died on Monday, September 21, after suffering with lung disease for a few years.

“The nurses said she was one of the kindest people they had ever met.

“She was such a genuine, loving person.”

He said she knew the birthday of all her regular customers and would give them a card.

“She looked at the pub as an extension of her own family,” said David.

“She loved her animals too. She had five Jack Russell dogs at one time, and the pub was also known as the Jack Russell pub.

“But coming from South Shields she had quite a caustic tongue and wouldn’t suffer fools gladly. She was well known for putting people in their place.”

Heather’s funeral service will beheld at St Mary the Virgin Church, St Marychurch, on Wednesday, October 7, at 11.15am.

There will be a retiring collection for Rowcroft Hospice at Home. A private cremation will follow.