A GLOBETROTTING ex-pub landlord known affectionately as The Showman has died at his Newport home.

The funeral of Ron Wallis, former landlord of the Ridgeway Inn in Allt-yr-yn, takes place today (Thursday) at St Mark's Church in Gold Tops at 12 noon, followed by interment at St Woolos Cemetery and a wake at Pill Harriers.

Mr Wallis, known in his schooldays by the nickname "Latin", had been due to undergo heart surgery in September when he died suddenly last Wednesday after enjoying a night out with friends.

His wife of almost 50 years, Rosalie found him downstairs at their home, having suffered a heart attack.

He will arrive at his funeral today in a horse-drawn carriage.

Born on August 24, 1946, in Malpas, Mr Wallis was one of four sons who left school to become a foreman at Newport Demolition for two decades, helping to knock down swathes of Shaftesbury and Cambrian Road.

He met his future wife Rosalie at Newport's Picton Arms in March 1964. She remembers him walking into the bar and looking at her before saying: "I'm going to marry that girl."

The pair wed at Bethany Chapel in Risca the following March and had four children, Darren, now 49, Delwyn, 48, David, 45, and Maria, 43.

The couple ran Rosemarie's cafe in Pill in the 1970s and 80s, a restaurant at Shire Hall and a guesthouse in Pentonville in the city centre until the 1990s before taking up the Ridgeway Inn for 10 years.

"We had no intention of being landlords," laughed Mrs Wallis.

Regulars will remember Mr Wallis, who was in the Masons, for his clean white shirt and tie, which he wore even in hot weather, at the beach or when he worked at a blast furnace, said Mrs Wallis.

Sons Darren and Delwyn remember their father becoming their sergeant and instructor in the Army Cadets when they were youngsters and even making the front page of the Argus in 1973 when he fell off a skateboard and broke his arm.

Tug of war competitions, floats at Pill Carnival, city centre marching parades, and sponsoring boxers at St Joseph's gym to help them buy kit all followed, and Mrs Wallis believes her husband will be remembered as "a proper character", often propping up the bar of his favourite Newport pubs.

"Even people who he barred from the pub have sent us messages of condolence," she said.

After retiring the life-long Manchester United supporter, whose coffin will be draped with the team's flag, spent more time fulfilling his love of travelling, buying three newspapers a day, even when abroad.

"He had been ill for five years and when he died there was no pain or suffering," said Mrs Wallis. "He was a good husband and an excellent father."

Daughter Maria said the family would like to thank everyone who has sent messages of condolence or flowers from as far afield as Australia, Thailand, Spain and the USA.