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Tributes to former Norwich pub landlord

Ian Girling. A much younger Ian mucking about in the bar.  Submitted Pictures

Ian Girling. A much younger Ian mucking about in the bar. Submitted Pictures

Archant

Tributes have been paid to a former Norwich landlord who will be remembered for his stints at two city pubs which are now both gone.

Ian Girling ran the Fruiterers’ Arms, off Gentleman’s Walk, until it closed, and he was also resident landlord of the Lord Raglan in Bishop Bridge Road until it was sold in 1991. His ex-partner said that one of his acts of bravery, which has never been reported, was saving a young woman’s life in the 1990s, after she jumped into the river Wensum to save her boyfriend. As he did not stick around to give his name to emergency services, his deed was never reported.

Mr Girling, who lived in Carrow Road, Norwich, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on March 4, aged 72.

His former partner, who just wanted to be called Rachel, said: “His favourite saying was ‘I am a gentleman, it says so on my office door’.

“He was joking but he was a true gentleman. He would always open the door for a lady, hand over a handkerchief if a lady cried.

“He always had a crisp white pressed hanky in his pocket for just that.

“His pubs were his life and when he had to retire due to the closure of the Raglan, he spent several years without purpose.

“He was the archetypal landlord, and he loved every minute of his life in the pubs.” She said he always spoke fondly of his time at the Fruiterers’ Arms, which closed in 1989, and he tried to hold on to the Raglan.

She said: “At the Raglan, he had a dog called Toby who was a regular in the bar. After closing he would walk down to Prince of Wales Road to get a takeaway for himself and the dog.

“On one such occasion, there was an incident where he saved the life of a young lady who had jumped into the river from the bridge. Her boyfriend and, I believe, a friend of his had jumped in and she had jumped in to save him.

“Unfortunately he died, as Ian found out later, but all he could hear was a small voice shouting ‘help’ from under the bridge. He alerted the emergency services and stayed on the bridge talking to the young lady. He was responsible for saving that young lady’s life but, typical Ian, he didn’t wait around and give his name. He was not the type of person who expected praise.”

The funeral was due to take place on Tuesday, March 19 but had to be cancelled and is being rearranged. The amended date will appear in the Evening News in due course.

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