Friends and former colleagues of Robert Warham have paid heartfelt tributes to a ‘true entrepreneur’ following his sudden death.
Mr Warham owned the Beachcroft Hotel in Felpham for a decade, winning numerous awards and transforming it into a hugely successful business.
He died on Sunday, May 8, aged 54 following a short illness.
Mr Warham bought the Beachcroft in 2005, selling it last year having invested heavily over a ten-year period and doubling its turnover.
Speaking on behalf of staff at the Beachcroft, general manager Phillip Roberts said: “Robert worked extremely hard on developing the Beachcroft over a period of years which led to the hotel winning over 30 business awards for business success and customer service.
“Robert also very recently won the local business person of the year award from the local Arun Business Partnership.
“Not only was Robert a true entrepreneurial business man, he believed in the value of looking after and caring for his team.
“Robert was the kind of boss that you could always look to for motivation, leadership and general worldly advice.
“He touched the hearts of so many local people, offering development and opportunity to those who worked with him.
“Robert was always there for any of us who needed his help or support, helping countless of past and present employees over his ten years here, up until the sale of the Beachcroft in 2015.
Mr Warham sold the Beachcroft in September 2015 and bought a plantation in Grenada, where friends said he planned to retire to before becoming ill in March this year.
“Robert liked to work hard and party hard, we will all miss his famous ‘one more for the road guys’ which generally led to four or five more and a 5am finish at our annual staff party,” Phillip said.
“I, like many others, are not sure that we will ever be lucky enough to work for such a fantastic boss, friend and colleague.
“The Beachcroft and all the friends and family he left behind, have truly lost a legend.”
Having worked in hotel management in a number of different countries in his 20s and then run a restaurant inspection company, Mr Warham realised his ‘dream’ of owning his own establishment when he bought the Beachcroft in December 2005.
Friend Beth McGee-Ruffell said: “He was my best friend for ten years. His eyes twinkled with humour and charm the way silver fish do against the blue sea.
“He was charming, thoughtful, generous and kind and a whole bunch of fun.
“He loved a joke and would make everyone laugh.
“He loved to entertain and was a natural cook, he would make the most incredible dishes.”
Mr Warham’s family has indicated family that his funeral will be May 20, 1pm at The Oaks Crematorium, Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA.
“In memory of Robert, who requested no flowers, his wishes were that donations be given to Cancer Research UK.
“Cheques can be sent to: W.Wraight & Son, The Square, Emsworth, PO10 7EG. Payable to Cancer Research UK,” his family said through a friend.
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