TRIBUTES have been paid to ‘one of the best landlords’ in Bolton.

Robert William Houghton has been described by family as a patriotic Englishman and Bolton Wanderers fan otherwise known as dad, Gan Gan, Grandad, Nannu and Nannu Bob.

Also known as ‘Bob’, he was born to Rosa Elizabeth Houghton on April 26th 1942 in Bolton, sadly a few weeks after his father, also called Robert William Houghton, died during the Second World War.

The 79-year-old was the youngest child of three with elder sisters Martha, who is now sadly deceased, and Theresa completing the family unit.

He grew and attended SS Peter and Pauls and then went to Whitebank School where he made many friends.

Son Christopher Houghton said: “While at school he was never afraid to protect his friends, his family and the town – a man of love and strong values in the making - something the Royal Navy were to understand in future years when he signed up, aged just 15.

“During his time in the Royal Navy, he became a stoker (engine room) and was posted on HMS Ausonia, HMS Tiger and HMS Troubridge as well as stints on HMS Malcolm, HMS Drake and finally HMS Victory.

“It was one of these ships that took him to Malta where he met the love of his life Carmen Bone.

“After only three days he proposed to Carmen and as he was only 18, following the Royal Navy protocol, he asked and finally obtained permission from his captain. “Three months later they were married in the city of Valletta, Malta.”

Bob was a master joiner craftsman but he was also well-known as a publican.

Chris said: “The first of these pubs was the Queen Elizabeth on Fletcher Street where he also won the Best Landlord of the Year for the Northwest of England with Greenhall Whitley. He moved to the Gibraltar Rock Hotel on Deane Road before settling at the Little John on Lever Street in Bolton.

“To this day many people still say he was the best landlord they ever had, many agree.”

Following retirement, he took a part time job at Barton Grange Garden Centre where he became known as ‘Uncle Bob’ by all staff due to the manager, Marthes Borg, being one of his nieces.

Christopher added: “He would also step into Santa’s shoes in early December to bring joy to the children of Bolton – something I know he dearly loved to do. He used to love to see the happy children’s faces.”

Robert was a much loved father to Janet and Mark, Christopher and Jayne, Robert and Nicola and died on August 30.