Tributes paid to 'determined and generous' Chipping Sodbury pub owner
12:39pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in News By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular Chipping Sodbury pub owner and building developer.
Louis McDonnell died on January 10 after battling cancer for three years. The owner of the Portcullis Hotel was 60 years old.
His partner of five years, Jenna Hale, said: "Louis was first diagnosed three years ago and had surgery, then he was diagnosed again a year ago.
"He spent the last year fighting it really hard but he took a turn for the worse just after Christmas."
Well known in Chipping Sodbury since buying the Portcullis three years ago, Louis was also prevalent in the building industry.
After travelling the world with the Merchant Navy, which he joined at the age of 15, he set up a transport yard in Wickwar.
"One of his proudest moments was when he became the first person to take a truck into Iran after the revolution," said Jenna, 30. "It was full of fly spray but he was very proud to get there."
He then bought and managed Wickwar Nursing Home and built three other elderly people's homes; Oak Tree in Brimsham Park, Stanshawes in Yate and a third in Exeter.
Louis was also responsible for building a housing development at Broad Lane in Yate, houses in Brimsham Park and Wickwar, offices in Devizes, Wiltshire, a dental practice in Bristol and he built his own underground house in Little Sodbury End. He also constructed Bowling Hill industrial estate in Chipping Sodbury and was associated with the Clockwork nightclub in Stokes Croft, Bristol.
A passionate skier, Louis spent 15 seasons running a taxi service for holidaymakers in the French ski resort of Tignes where he also sold alcoholic slush puppies.
He played for Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club for a decade.
Said Jenna: "We bought the Portcullis three years ago and he turned it around from what it was.
"He was very passionate about raising money for charity and held lots of events at the pub, that was something very close to his heart."
She added: "Louis was the most hilarious, determined, generous and brave person I've ever met, and I was so lucky to do so.
"And he was very well known, I don’t think there were many people in the area who didn’t know him."
Louis leaves behind six children, Clare, 35, Kim, 33, Eugene, 30 and 13-year-old twins Phoebe and Ella and Xanthe, 8, as well as four grandchildren.
His funeral takes place at Westerleigh Crematorium on Tuesday, January 22 (3pm). All are welcome, no dress code. Donations to Macmillan Cancer Support.
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