South Shields pub traces family after death of popular customer George Hobson
George Hobson, 76, had become a regular face at Hogarth’s, in Mile End Road, in the last three years and was popular with bar staff and fellow customers.
Descri bed as a ‘chirpy chap’ fears emerged that George might have a pauper’s funeral when no relatives could be found and pub manager Martin Wood launched a social media appeal to find his family.
Martin said George, who travelled from Bensham, Gateshead, to the pub every day, didn’t tell his children and grandchildren he had cancer - not wanting to burden them with his illness.
Martin, 35, said: “He was a very popular guy. The post had a massive reaction. We’ve been open around three and a half years and it was around three years ago that we met George.
“He would come in and sit at the bar and have a drink by himself. He lived Gateshead, but he’d come through every day and become part of the furniture at Hogarths. He was a very pleasant, nice guy and he’d speak to anyone.
“He use to be in the pub industry and we would quite regularly talk business. He was a chirpy chap and he had a fun attitude towards things.”
The appeal received thousands of shares and - in a matter of days - the pub managed to find George’s daughter and granddaughter, Joanne and Shona Falcon.
Joanne said she had seen George just weeks before he passed away but hadn’t told her he had terminal cancer.
She said: “He was just set in his ways. He had his own way of dealing with things.
Shona said the family is pleased the pub were able to track them down.
She said: “They’ve been a godsend. Martin has been amazing. He explained that my grandad didn’t want us knowing that he had cancer. He’s so pleased he’s found us and we’re all relieved they did.”
Martin first found out George was ill after he went to visit him at home when he hadn’t been in to the pub for a few days.
He said: “That was unusual. I live in Gateshead too and would sometimes drop him off at home.
“When he wasn’t getting out as much we’d go over to visit him and I’d bring him over to the pub so he could sit and have a cup of coffee.
“We built a relationship’ Ultimately we became friends and when I knew he was getting worse I tried probing him about his daughter and granddaughter.
“He didn’t want to bother them with him dyng.”
After he passed away the authorities were struggling to track down his family and Martin was told George might have a pauper’s funeral .
He said: “I just thought that isn’t happening. I put out an appeal on Facebook to try find his family and started up a fund to try pay for it. It stands at more than £800 at the moment.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the page can visit www.gofundme.com/giving-george-the-send-off-he-deserves
George’s funeral will take place at South Tyneside Crematorium, in John Reid Road, on March 12 at 1.15pm.
The procession wll be from Hogarth’s and the wake will also be held at the pub after the service.