So David Coombs, the well-liked and respected proprietor of the Royal Hotel for 29 years, is retiring and leaving Bognor Regis.
He will be sorely missed.
Over many years David has been a wonderful supporter of the town, putting forward many innovative ideas to enhance the town but often being frustrated when they were ignored or diluted by bureaucracy and diversifying local politics.
He was a leading member of Bognor Regis Ltd, the committee that was set up in the mid 1990s for the enhancement of Bognor Regis.
David, at his own expense, put forward a wonderful plan for the Victorianisation of Bognor seafront, including Victorian lamp standards, and shelters and a wonderful Victorian-type restaurant on the site where the skateboarding now takes place.
The interior would be Victorian with the waiters and waitresses in Victorian dress.
A wonderful idea that was costed and planned meticulously but completely watered down to the pseudo-Victorian shelters that are now in place.
David hosted a great many of the clowns at the giant International Clowns Convention and took an active part in the celebrations.
He also subsidised the shows at the main hall of the Regis Centre, especially the wonderful orchestra at the Last Night of the Proms and at the fabulous after-show parties at the Royal.
He later stood and became a member of the town council: he was like a breath of fresh air.
I remember vividly when the officers from Arun turned up late for an important meeting.
David gave them such a rollicking – telling them they could waste their own time but not to waste the time of other people.
Once again he got frustrated by all the bureaucracy and he resigned – as I did.
There are many other stories to tell of David including the way that he carried on running the business at the Royal despite suffering severe injuries in a car accident.
I don’t know if he will miss Bognor, but I know Bognor will miss him and his cheery personality – I know I will.
Whatever you do now, all the very best, and thank you.
Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis