HEARTFELT tributes to a ‘huge character’ have been paid after the unexpected death of Jerry Hicks of The Folly Wine Bar in Petersfield.
He was taken ill in the wine bar in College Street early last Tuesday evening, May 16, and, despite the efforts of medical professionals, didn’t recover.
Jerry leaves his wife, Sarah, sons Ollie and Harry and daughter Loulou.
A tribute from close family friends said: “Jerry was a huge character in the local community and will be sorely missed by everyone.”
There were also scores of tributes, condolences and messages of sympathy to the family on The Folly Wine Bar’s Facebook page.
But mainly everywhere there was unbelieving shock that Jerry, in his mid-50s and described variously as kind, generous, and a ‘massive Petersfield legend’, had passed away.
He and Sarah moved to Petersfield in 1993, and took on The Folly Wine Bar, now a focal point for the Petersfield community.
As a result of his enthusiasm and spirit, it became a venue for many to enjoy a daily early morning coffee club, monthly comedy club, and a wine shop.
It was also popular for lunches and suppers, private parties, and as a favourite watering hole for people from the town and further afield.
Last year Jerry took over The George in The Square, injecting new life to make it a thriving hub.
He was also a keen and competitive sportsman, and entered teams each year in the Petersfield Rugby Club Pub Sevens competition.
It began with just a handful of teams sponsored by town centre pubs, including one from The Folly Wine Bar – whose pre-tournament breakfast, courtesy of Jerry, rivalled the best.
He had since sponsored at least one team each year, and this year The Folly collected two trophies, the Fans’ Choice and The Plate.
He also sponsored the rugby club’s colts’ team.
Jerry will be remembered for his boundless energy and good humour, with always a kind and personal word for everyone, his friends added.
There will be a service of remembrance at 4.30 pm on Monday, June 5, in St Peter’s Church in The Square, with refreshments afterwards in The Folly Wine Bar.