A LONG-TIME landlord who hosted 'hundreds of weddings and thousands of parties' has died after a short illness.

Chris Slow is best known locally for running the Square and Compass Inn, near Ashill, with his wife Janet.

They took over behind the bar in December 1997, and built the pub up to a much loved community facility, until they sold up and moved on in January 2018.

It has since been renamed The Flying Fish.

Chris was born on March 1, 1957, in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.

When he finished school he studied at Crawley College and became an electrical engineer working on flight simulators.

He married Janet in 1987, and in 1988 Chris got a job working away from home for an American company based in Slough.

In 1994, the couple welcomed their daughter Beth, and a couple of years later Chris decided he wanted to move to the countryside.

Janet said: "Chris became landlord, gardener, maintenance man and wedding and function co-ordinator and occasional chef, so didn’t have much time off."

In 2003, Chris and Janet built the barn wedding venue and 12 years ago, the stables accommodation and house.

In 2006, they extended the kitchen and built a conservatory on the front of the pub.

They turned it into a very successful business, with Janet saying they "hosted hundreds of weddings and thousands of parties.

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POPULAR PUB: The Square and Compass - now the Flying Fish - at Ashill. PICTURE: Google Street View

"Chris was an avid fan of live music," she added.

"He was very proud that the barn became a well-known music venue with international artists, such as Albert Lee, Paul Young, Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford, Paul Jones and The Blues Band to name but a few, performing over the years."

Chris and Janet sold the business in January 2018 and moved to Appledore in North Devon.

Chris enjoyed spending the last two winters in Mojacar, on the southern coast of Spain.

Janet said: "To his friends he was known for his humour, kindness, honesty and generosity.

"He enjoyed woodwork and in the early years he made the tables for the barn and pub, he also liked swimming and walking in the countryside."

Chris died on January 14, in a hospital in Spain after a short illness.

"He loved making and fixing things," added Janet.

"He enjoyed good food and wine. He cared deeply about current affairs and politics

"Before we bought the pub he loved swimming, boating and fishing, and we were lucky to live by the sea in Shoreham, Appledore and Mojacar.

"He was a big man with a big heart and he will be missed terribly by his family and friends."

A funeral to celebrate Chris’s life is being held at 2.30pm on February 17, at Taunton Crematorium.