Tributes to “Legend of Sidmouth” Mike
TRIBUTES have been paid to a “legend of Sidmouth” who was “chuffed” he lived to see his family resurrect a High Street caf� that now bears his name.
Around 200 people packed the parish church on Monday for a service of thanksgiving to celebrate the life of popular and well-respected Mike Sambati, 71.
Loved-ones of the well-known grandfather-of-three - who gave the town its first nightclub in the 1970s - told the Herald: “He never intended to be anything other than a good man.”
Mike died on June 25 following a long and brave fight against cancer.
His family, including wife Molly and children Mike, Phil and Soula Sherlock, have thanked the town for its “overwhelming” support.
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Soula summed her dad up as “a well-respected, unselfish, much-loved businessman devoted to his family, and a very good friend to a lot of people.”
“He left his mark in a very understated way,” she added.
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Soula said Mike was “chuffed” to see her open Sambati’s at 106 High Street recently – two years after the family business was left homeless when Sidmouth Indoor Shopping Centre shut.
Mike came to Sidmouth in 1969 and opened the Old Coffee Tavern in High Street before turning the Winter Gardens, which is now Carinas, into a nightclub.
He then ran the White Horse Caf�, in Old Fore Street, for 30 years.
Mike helped Soula at the Indoor Shopping Centre for a decade until it closed in early 2010. He was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer two months later.
“So many people have shook my hand and said he was a legend. To me, he was just my dad,” said Soula.
“He was an incredibly family-oriented person who always put himself last.
“He was a force to be reckoned with, but always gave as much respect as he got.”
“He was a Cypriot, but considered himself from Sidmouth,” said his son, Mike.
The family thanked Sidmouth Hospiscare and Sidmouth Hospital for their “amazing care and kindness”.