2:06pm Saturday 24th May 2014
"THE legend is gone." Those were the words of Pamela Savva about her late husband, one of Gwent's best-known entrepreneurs and club managers George Savva, who has died aged 72.
Born in war-torn England in 1941 to an English mother and Greek Cypriot father, Mr Savva found his feet in the world of work in London, working at a restaurant with his father.
Eager to learn the language, he travelled to Cyprus for six months at a time to work in the olive fields with his grandfather.
"He learned the Cypriot way of life and spoke fluent Greek," said Mrs Savva, 76, who met George Savva on his return to England at Caesar's Palace in Luton, where he was working as the club director.
The pair, who later married, ran the 1,200-capacity Blazers nightclub in Windsor which hosted royal galas.
It was an era when big name comedians and singers could command fees of up to £10,000 a night and the club regularly saw big stars like Sir Cliff Richard, who remains a close family friend, performing there.
Despite offers from agents and newspapers to 'kiss and tell' about their famous clientele, the Savvas never did, and stayed at the club for nine years.
In 1987 they moved to Usk in Monmouthshire after being asked to work at the Halmaen, a small cabaret club which nevertheless attracted major artists.
"We loved it so much we said we would like to buy it," said Mrs Savva.
The club's name changed to Stardust and then to the famous Savva's nightclub, attracting big names like Michael Barrymore, Lenny Henry and Frankie Vaughan and raising thousands for charity.
The pair holidayed with Sir Cliff, who they call "Fred", in Barbados and counted comedian Danny La Rue among their friends.
A four-year stint in Cyprus after selling the club ended when the pair flew back to the UK as their son-in-law had bought Maes Manor in Blackwood, and later The Gate in Llanfrechfa, which the family called George's at the Gate.
Mr Savva then ran the Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel near Usk, a venue which their son-in-law bought and painted salmon pink.
Mrs Savva said: "George was such an entrepreneur, he loved his work. He said the people of south Wales are the salt of the earth."
In August 2004 the couple returned to Cyprus for another five years but returned in 2009 due to fears for Mr Savva's health and in 2010, Mr Savva was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
Despite his family's nursing care at home and with visits from Q Care nurses, he moved to Caerleon House nursing home when Mrs Savva became too unwell to care for him.
On May 16 this year, the man friends described as "a legend" died peacefully at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital with his wife and daughter Jayne holding his hands.
He leaves wife Pamela, children Jayne, George, Andrew and James, as well as four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. The funeral, which will be partly Greek Orthodox, takes place on June 2 at St Mary’s Church, Usk at 11am before Mr Savva is buried at Coed-y-paen near Llandegfedd.
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