Family's tribute to popular Suffolk pub landlord

Land of the Half Moon, Patrick Wroe - very concerned about the rising price of a pint.

Patrick Wroe was well known as the landlord of The Half Moon in Walton - Credit: Archant

The son of a popular publican described his father as the "kindest man with a great sense of humour" at a packed church funeral. 

Jonathan Wroe, son of Felixstowe pub landlord Patrick Wroe, had hundreds of mourners at the town’s St John’s Church laughing as he told numerous anecdotes about his dad’s colourful life and escapades. 

Mr Wroe was well known as the landlord of the Ferry Boat Inn and The Victoria Inn at Felixstowe Ferry - thought to be the only person to have been landlord at both the fishing hamlet's pubs - as well as the Half Moon in Walton, Felixstowe.

He was also president of the Rotary Club of Felixstowe. 

Patrick Wroe with the Half Moon pub sign

Patrick Wroe with his "Swifties" A-board outside the Half Moon - Credit: Archant

He died peacefully at home on March 23 aged 76. 

During the eulogy, Jonathan spoke about how rugby-mad Patrick did not like his children being in the house when England vs Wales rugby matches were on the TV and used to send them away with bits of pound notes taped together to do some shopping. 

Margate-born Mr Wroe, a father-of-three, was involved in charity work throughout his life and on one occasion, while working for the disability organisation Scope, he took three children on a day trip, one of whom was wheelchair-bound. 

Patrick Wroe won a Felixstowe in Flower award.

Patrick Wroe with one of several Felixstowe in Flower awards the Half Moon received for its floral displays. - Credit: Alex Fairfull

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When they reached their destination, the two children not in wheelchairs ran up a hill and rolled back down, so Mr Wroe pushed the remaining child to the top of the hill so he could roll down with them. 

The child loved it so much he told his mates and the minibus for the next trip was packed.

His son also spoke about how his larger-than-life father was very outspoken and enjoyed a debate, which he would normally win, while he also enjoyed spending time at sea. 

Patrick Wroe in his days as a purser.

Patrick Wroe in his days as a purser. - Credit: Patrick Wroe

“He has left a hole in all our lives and will be missed. The world would be a better place if everyone could be more like Patrick,” Jonathan said. 

Mr Wroe’s intellectual prowess was also touched upon by Rotarian Graham Boast, who joked that when he once told Patrick that he was not as bright as him, received the reply, “I know, but then you are from Stowmarket.” 

Mr Wroe was a columnist for both the Ipswich Star and the EADT - and readers loved his witty anecdotes and forthright views.

Evening Star Pub of the Year 2002 Karen Pickering and Evening Star editor Nigel

Evening Star Pub of the Year 2002 winner - Patrick receives the award from Ipswich swimmer Karen Pickering and Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Former Ipswich Star Editor, Nigel Pickover, said: “Patrick was one of the great characters of Felixstowe and Ipswich and had an army of friends who appreciated his warmth, loyalty, and quick wit.

“I first met him at the Brewery Tap in Ipswich when Tolly Cobbold and its incredible brewery and pub was enjoying its last golden hurrah - and he was a big part of that final success.

“He had a special gift of drawing you into the bars he was in charge of - a human magnet to go alongside the great ales he was serving.

“He carried this gift through to two Felixstowe pub institutions, the former Victoria at Felixstowe Ferry and the Half Moon in Walton. He made happy nights for many thousands of people who will forever toast a wonderful character and friend.”

Patrick Wroe - leaving the Half Moon, Walton, Felixstowe.

Patrick Wroe - leaving the Half Moon, Walton, Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

Mr Wroe was a senior purser in the merchant navy, working on the Felixstowe cross-North Sea ferries for many years before becoming a landlord, As well being licensee at the Half Moon, FBI and Victoria, he was also landlord for a time at the Duke of York in Ipswich and in charge of the bars at the Waverley Hotel, Felixstowe.

His first task when taking over the Half Moon in 1998 was to restore the name it had enjoyed for 200 years before briefly - and much to the annoyance of local residents - being called the Tap and Spile by the previous owners.

While at the Half Moon, Mr Wroe posted daily jokes and cryptic crossword-style messages he called "Swifties" on an A-board outside the premises in Walton High Street to amuse those passing by.  

Mourners at Wednesday’s funeral service were encouraged to donate in his memory to Felixstowe Rotary Club or the charity Felixstowe Area Community Transport Service (FACTS). 

Patrick Wroe with Dan the stuffed quail that has gone missing from his pub, the Half Moon,

Patrick Wroe with Dan Quail, a half-sized stuffed quail (named after an American vice president) that temporarily went missing from his pub. The bird was placed on the top of the Christmas tree each year. - Credit: Archant