Former Whyte Swanne landlord ‘Besty’ dies aged 67

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A former landlord of the oldest pub in Louth, Ye Olde Whyte Swanne, known as ‘Besty behind the bar’ has died in hospital aged 67.

Brian Best, who ran the 500-year-old Eastgate pub between 1981 and 1986, died on February 20 after his health quickly deteriorated.

Brian was a well known face in the town, especially among the keen pub-goers who he served, and later as president of the Louth Hospital Club.

He actually began his career at Findus, where he was a coldstore manager for 16 years, before moving to Louth from Cleethorpes to carry on the Best family tradition of running pubs.

He took over the running of Ye Olde Whyte Swanne with his wife Mary in 1981, and put his own stamp on the old place.

Thanks to Brian’s extensive sporting and music knowledge, drinkers at the ale house were treated to regular pub quizzes as well as folk nights.

Brian was affectionately known as ‘Besty behind the bar’ and built up a real rapport with his customers, and the pub enjoyed five successful years under his stewardship.

After leaving the pub Brian went on to work for the pallet yard in Legbourne Road in Louth and later started his own successful business as an accountant.

Brian was also a keen footballer, darts player, angler and golfer, and also found time to fundraise for the Guide Dogs, as chairman of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

A man who clearly understood the importance of charity, he also got behind the Harvey Phillips Trust in more recent years at a trustee.

Brian and Mary, who were married for 49 years until his death, lived in North Holme Road where they had three daughters, Andrea, Fiona and Katie, and one son, Vincent, as well as four grandchildren.

In the latter years Brian suffered with diabetes and several strokes, and recently his health quickly deteriorated and he died in hospital last week.

What are your memories of Brian Best? Email sam.kinnaird@jpress.co.uk so we can share your stories with our readers.

Brian Best’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, March 5 at 11am at Grimsby Crematorium and friends and family are welcome to go along to the service and celebrate his life.

Donations to the Guide Dogs in Brian’s memory, as former chairman of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association will be most welcome, and can be made via his daughter Katie Best on 07876 454956.