THE FRIENDS and family of a popular pub landlord in Stroud have marked their first Christmas without him in a special way. 

When you lose someone close, it's the firsts that are often the hardest days: the first birthday without them, the first Christmas etc.

Having tragically lost landlord and friend, Rob Thom, in the autumn, regulars of The Queen Vic in Stroud wanted to mark their first Christmas without him in a way they felt he would appreciate.

Rob had been a great fundraiser over the years, climbing mountains and goodness knows what else to help fund many good causes.

Deciding that climbing big hills was probably beyond most of them, the group of regulars, led by carpenter Dave Pickering, threw away their razors for the month of December with a plan to have a communal shave on Christmas Eve during the pub’s annual musical celebration.

 They chose to raise the money for local CIC, Chance Is Change run by Tom Hoskins.

Stroud News and Journal: Over £3,000 raised at Christmas fundraiser in memory of pub landlordTom provides mentoring and life coaching to children and young people, with Rob's own grand-daughter benefitting from Tom's work over the past few years.

The bar began to resemble a Santa Federation HQ as beards appeared, with some whiter than they may have previously been!

Friends and passing customers were encouraged to be generous, and extremely generous they were.

Mention must also go to the players of The JP Allstars who gave their time and music free of charge on the day.

When the money was counted, the cheque that the pub presented to Tom was for a colossal £3015.00 towards the upkeep and running of the physical vehicle, The Life Coach, which allows Tom to travel throughout the county to provide a safe, fun and reflective space.

Stroud News and Journal: Over £3,000 raised at Christmas fundraiser in memory of pub landlordTom said that this generous donation will keep the Life Coach working for three years,  which is great news for the clients that he works with.

If proof were needed of the success of his mentoring, Rob’s own young grand-daughter is a wonderful example.

Two years ago, she wouldn’t come into the pub to enjoy the annual Christmas Eve concert by The JP AllStars brass group as there were too many people and it was too loud.

This year? There she was on a mic at the front of the 10 piece band singing and entertaining the large crowd to huge acclaim.

The generosity of this group means that more children will benefit from the important work Tom does and Rob will long remain in the hearts and memories of his family and friends.