HUNDREDS of mourners turned out to the funeral of a well loved Gwent entrepreneur and nightclub owner yesterday.
More than 390 people attended the funeral of George Savva, 72, at the Priory Church of St Mary in Usk. Mr Savva and his wife Pamela were one of Gwent's best-known entrepreneurs who owned the Stardust in Usk which later changed into the Savva's nightclub.
The husband and wife team attracted big names to the town such as Michael Barrymore, Lenny Henry and Frankie Vaughan raising thousands for charity. The Savvas had previously ran the 1,200-capacity Blazers nightclub in Windsor which hosted royal galas and saw big stars like Sir Cliff Richard, who remains a close family friend, performing there.
Abergavenny singer, Bryn Yemm and David Watkins MBE, the former British Lions captain, Wales and Newport RFC rugby player who was a key figure in the club's win over New Zealand All Blacks in 1963 attended the service in Usk. Iris Williams OBE performed her biggest hit 'He was beautiful' at the service to a round of applause.
Reverend Julian Gray who lead the service, said: "The couple were heavily involved in charitable work internationally and here in Usk. Stardust brought a number of businesses into the area to support local causes.
“George fell in love with South Wales, he said the people here were the salt of the earth. He was a devoted family man, a loving husband to Pam, a devoted father to Jayne, George, Andrew and James, a grandfather and great-grandfather."
He added: "George was a funny, intelligent, generous and kind man."
The family thanked staff at the Caerleon nursing home where Mr Savva spent the spent the last year of his life. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2010.
Reverend Gray said: "The family want to thank Georgia and Jane, from the Caerleon Nursing home who prolonged his life for at least a year with their loving care and devotion to George."
Donations were given to the Alzheimer's Society after the hour service instead of flowers.
Mr Savva was born on September 15, 1941 in Swindon when his mother Nancy gave birth to him while travelling on a train to Cornwall. When he was 15-years-old he went to work in London with his Greek Cypriot family.
Eager to learn the language, he travelled to Cyprus for six months at a time to work in the olive fields with his grandfather.
A poem written by one of Mr Savva's four grandchildren titled Poem For Grandad was read aloud during the service.
It read: "You were really one in a million, a cut above the rest, all that knew you would agree, you simply were the best."
A four-year stint in Cyprus after selling the club in Usk ended when the the Savvas flew back to the UK as their son-in-law had bought Maes Manor in Blackwood, and later The Gate in Llanfrechfa, which the family called George's at the Gate.
Mr Savva then ran the Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel near Usk, a venue which their son-in-law bought and painted salmon pink. In August 2004 the couple returned to Cyprus for another five years but returned in 2009 due to fears for Mr Savva's health.
On May 16 this year, Mr Savva's died peacefully at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital with his wife and daughter Jayne holding his hands.
He leaves wife Pamela, children Jayne, George, Andrew and James, as well as four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was buried at Coed-y-Paen near Llandegfedd and mourners were invited to refreshments at Glen-yr-Afon Hotel after the service.