TRIBUTES have flooded in for a beloved, ‘caring’ landlord after his death.

Phil Cockcroft died on Sunday, at the age of 62, after suffering a major stroke, which he “fought as hard as he could but unfortunately lost”.

Phil, who was born in Egypt, was the landlord of The George Inn, in St Mary Bourne, but was at the helm at a number of pubs in Andover down the years.

He originally moved to the town seeking manual labour work, but took over the running of The Folly in the late 1980s.

Son Dave said: “He moved down here for job opportunities and he drank at The Folly and the fella who used to own that asked my dad to step in when he went on holiday and when he retired, he decided to take over.”

In the 1990s Phil moved to become the landlord at the Southampton Arms, a role he kept until four years ago when he moved to The George.

Over the years he also helped run The George, in George Yard, and helped the Hampshire Golf Club on the catering side.

“He was a caring man, put a lot of thought into the community and always worked hard to run different types of events to make everyone welcome.”

And the big sports fan also helped football, rugby, darts, netball and pool leagues.

Dave said: “I think that is part of him, he was a social man and he enjoyed playing rugby and football teams in general and if he was involved in it he could do it in the pub.”

The family added Phil used to step in at the last minute to help out at weddings and other events when people had been let down, but he was also well-known for his many trips to Goodwood and the invention of ‘Silly Sundays’ - a day filled with family fun and evening of drinks offers before a Bank Holiday Monday.

Since The George posted a tribute to Phil online, over 550 comments and tributes have been paid to “the legend”.

One post said: “When God made landlords Phil was the standard that everyone aspired to, when God made gentleman Phil led the way for us to follow.”

Dave added: “It is quite nice to see other people are doing their own tributes to honour a massive man.

“For a lot of my friends my age he was a huge part of their childhood, many had their first drink there at The Arms.”

Phil’s funeral will take place at St Mary’s Church on April 18 at 11.15am, with friends and punters invited to attend.