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Much-loved owner of former Essex Road chippy George’s Fish Bar dies

PUBLISHED: 11:18 18 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:26 19 December 2018

George and Dimitra with family members.

George and Dimitra with family members.

Archant

A beloved former owner of a long-running fish and chip shop in Essex Road has died aged 77.

George this summer in Cyprus.George this summer in Cyprus.

The much-loved former owner of a long-running fish and chip shop in Essex Road has died aged 77.

Born into a poor family in Cyprus in 1941, George Christou fed generations at George’s Fish Bar from the early 1980s and was famed for his generosity and sense of humour.

Having sold the shop in 2013 to retire home when he got stomach cancer, Mr Christou died in hospital in the Cypriot city of Limassol on Tuesday last week after contracting pneumonia.

His widow Dimitra, 78, affectionately known as Debbie, was for decades George’s business as well as life partner.

George and Dimitra with family members.George and Dimitra with family members.

She said: “He was a fantastic man. He loved his customers and his customers loved him.”

Mr Christou’s grandson, Anthony Christodolou, 30, said the family was “distraught” and that the funeral was “not going to be a pleasant thing”.

Anthony said: “He was loved by everyone. He was a character. He loved to make jokes.

“He always treated people in the community, his customers, with love, and he was always pleasant.

“That’s why a lot of people will be sad to see him go.”

Day in, day out, George and Dimitra could be seen at the shop – he serving customers and making them tea, she most often out the back, making sure the place ran smoothly.

The couple regularly gave away leftover food at the end of the day to the poor.

“He had that golden heart,” said Anthony. “He loved to help, he loved to just share his love with everyone.”

“It was just a really good relationship between them,” he added “They had chemistry in the shop.”

Anthony said customers did not want to see the shop go.

“They couldn’t think of another shop in that area than George’s Fish Bar,” he said.

The building is now a branch of the well-reviewed Stoke Newington fish and chip shop Sutton and Sons.

George had sadly suffered a lot after he contracted first dementia and then, shortly afterwards, stomach cancer, according to Anthony.

“That was a really, really big blow,” he said.

“Ever since, it was like an uphill struggle.”

The pneumonia, which caused his health to deteriorate quickly earlier this month, was just “another thing”, he said.

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