Memory of popular Sidmouth landlord will live on in his beloved music

The Volunteer Inn landlord Steve Lea

The Volunteer Inn landlord Steve Lea - Credit: Archant

Family, friends and musicians have paid tribute to Steve Lea

A ‘kind and generous’ Sidmouth landlord will be remembered for his magnetic personality and the music he loved.

Family, friends and musicians have paid tribute to Steve Lea, 56, of The Volunteer Inn, who has been described as a ‘warm and funny’ man who touched many lives with this genuine quality.

The father and step-father lost a long battle with liver disease on July 7, but leaves a legacy of live music in the pub that he turned into a thriving heart of the community, famed for its garden entertainment during FolkWeek.

His daughter, Jen, said: “My dad was a special man. He taught me so much about kindness, about right from wrong and about how to be a decent person and these are teachings I will keep with me always. I’d like to think part of his spirit will remain in the music he loved and I hope many will think of him while performing or listening to such tunes.”

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Born in Shropshire, Steve was one of five children. He was musical from a young age, starting his own mobile disco business when he left school, before later going on to turn his love of driving into a profession.

In the late 1980s, Steve and his then wife Wyn moved with their young daughter to Sidmouth, where the passionate performer continued to pursue his love of music, singing in Sidmouth Conservative Club and Sidbury Social Club among others.

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It was in 2005 that the couple spotted the ‘perfect’ opportunity to take over The Volunteer Inn, which Steve’s step-daughter, Chrissie Worthington, is now running.

Steve’s step-son, Michael Booton, described him as being ‘a big influence’ who will be ‘dearly missed’.

Musician Phil Dewhurst paid tribute to the landlord on Facebook, saying: “He was a gentle, warm, funny and lovely man who was unfailingly generous.”

Others remembered him as a ‘larger-than-life character’ who was a true gentlemen’ who courageously fought a battle against his disease and will be missed by all who knew him.

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