Deddington residents have paid tribute to ‘real character’ Roger Callow who died after suffering a fall in the village.
Mr Callow, who had worked for many years as a kitchen porter at the Cartwright Hotel in Aynho, died last Friday after falling into a sunken area in front of a basement window.
He was found in Deddington High Street at 12.30am.
It is believed he was on his way home from the Crown and Tuns pub where he was a regular and may have been making a visit to the Unicorn pub for last orders.
Mr Callow, who was in his mid 60s and lived alone, had formerly worked at the Deddington Arms Hotel and was semi-retired. He enjoyed drinking in the Unicorn, Red Lion and Crown and Tuns pubs and was a favourite with staff and locals.
He had attended Deddington Church for some years and served on the Parochial Church Council.
Unicorn Hotel barmaid Jacqui Nicholls, whose late father knew Mr Callow well, said: “He was a really great character. One of the Deddington Old Boys.
“He will be remembered for his sense of humour, the stories he would tell and how kind he was. He loved reading and was full of tales.”
John Anderson, managing director of Oxfordshire Hotels, described Mr Callow – who washed dishes at the Cartwright Hotel for more than ten years – as a ‘top top bloke’ who had asked for part-time work after he retired as he ‘wanted to be around people’. He said: “Thursday was a very, very sad night for us.”
Red Lion landlords Michelle Boulter and Eddie Harrison knew Mr Callow well.
Ms Boulter said: “Roger was a great local character and a great friend whom we’ve had many a laugh with over the years.
“He loved to sing karaoke on a Friday night, with Tom Jones being his favourite singer, and he loved a boogie with the younger girls.
“He didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody and was just a jolly little soul who loved to be socialising with friends.”
She added: “It was such a shock when we heard about it and it’s still sinking in.
“You will be greatly missed especially for your cheeky chat up lines and your singing. Goodnight Dodge.”
A tribute on the pub’s Facebook page posted on Friday stated: “Today we lost a great friend of many years, Roger Callow you are greatly loved and will be greatly missed! Tonight we will all be raising a glass or two to you remembering the great laughs you’ve given us and your cheeky chat up lines!
“RIP Rog – gone but never forgotten!
‘In the words of Mr Callow “chin,chin!’
Mr Callow’s death is being treated by police as unexplained, but not suspicious.
Last Friday morning police cordoned off a 15-metre section of Deddington High Street near the Crown and Tuns pub as an investigation got under way into Mr Callow’s death .
Det Insp Steve Raffield said: “We are working to establish the circumstances around this unexplained death.
“I would appeal to anyone who may have seen a person matching his description in the area around the time of the incident or earlier in the night to contact me.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Thames Valley Police on the 24-hour non-emergency number 101.