A RENOWNED Oxfordshire landlord who turned around the fortunes of various pubs has died aged 62.

Johnny Chick, who was most recently working at the Eyston Arms in East Hendred, was described as one of the "favourite sons" of the county's hospitality industry.

He was born in Goring, South Oxfordshire, on July 30, 1953, but grew up with his brother Stephen and sister Cargie in Dorchester-on-Thames, attending Shiplake School and pursuing a career in the Merchant Navy.

He started his career in hospitality during the early 1980s with cousin Gerry Stonhill, at the Bear and Ragged Staff in Stadhampton.

Mr Chick later took over The King and Queen in High Street, Wheatley, where he became a well-known character of the village and kept a dog, Toby Jones, who could often be seen wearing a hat and other clothes.

Running his own catering company, Mr Chick imported the first pig roaster from Australia and acquisition set the benchmark for many other firms.

He was then drafted in by an investor to turn around a run-down pub in Easington that became The Mole and Chicken.

His next conversion and extension was to the The Talkhouse, in Stanton St John, which he considered his most ambitious project, and it was followed by another with the purchase of the Abingdon Arms in Beckley.

All are still trading successfully.

Mr Chick later renovated the Dinton Hermit, in the village of Ford, before a fishing holiday in Dartmouth convinced him that a new life beckoned.

He moved there in 2002 with his wife for three years the couple ran a restaurant, before taking over a shop opposite to sell fishing tackle and sporting paraphernalia.

His time in Dartmouth also saw him set up an annual carol service, attended by hundreds every year.

For the last three years of his life he moved back to Oxfordshire, after being persuaded by his sister Cargie and brother-in law-to "come out of retirement" and run the Eyston Arms.

And in a short time his presence became a magnet for people from the village, the horse racing world and captains of industry from Milton and Harwell.

Mr Chick fell ill on holiday in October 2015 with asbestos-related cancer. He died peacefully on February 27 in his cottage, surrounded by close family.

He is survived by his children Olli, Maddy and Ella.

A funeral service will take place at South Oxfordshire Crematorium at 1pm on Wednesday, March 16.