'One of the most generous people' - Family pays tribute to town 'legend'
- Credit: Submitted
Tributes have been paid by family members to one of Great Yarmouth's most well-known personalities who died last week.
Andrew Mavroudis passed away on November 25 from a heart attack at the age of just 49.
He had been diagnosed with a brain tumour one year before.
Known widely throughout the nightclub and hospitality industry, Andrew, with his brother, Chris, ran various venues around the town, including Mission Bar, the Rock Bar, Caesars and the Bloater King.
His parents, Louie and Despina Mavroudis, were originally Greek-Cypriot.
They met in London after immigrating from Cyprus in 1960.
Four years later they moved to Great Yarmouth, where they ran the Beach House Hotel on Marine Parade.
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Andrew was born in 1971.
He went to St George's infant school and then the Nelson School before attending Great Yarmouth International School for one term and finishing his studies at Great Yarmouth High School.
After spending six months on national service in Cyprus, he returned to Norfolk and started working at the Beach House Hotel before later setting up and running his own businesses.
His mother died in April this year.
Jenny Merkis, his sister, said her fondest memory of Andrew was of one day in Athens while on a family holiday.
"We followed Andrew around for eight hours and ended up in Syntagma square, where the soldiers are," she said.
"We tried to find somebody to take our photo and when we finally found someone we all looked around, but none of us had a camera.
"And this is the picture we remember, the one we never took," Ms Merkis said.
She added: "Andrew was one of the most generous people I've known. If he had money he would spend it on anyone. If anyone was out of money he would give it to them."
Cat Couma, his sister, said: "He loved everybody. It didn't matter where they came from, who they were, he loved everybody."
Chris, his brother, described the last time they met, two days before Andrew's death.
"He was in the front room, we were talking and he started laughing, and I said 'why are you laughing?', so I looked at him, into his eyes, and I started laughing, so we were both looking at each other and laughing for about five minutes."
They ran businesses together since their late teens.
"We went through everything together, building our businesses, it was a rollercoaster," Chris said.
When Andrew's nieces and nephews - Chris and Desie Merkis, Louie and Fifi Couma, and Stella, Louisa and Christian Mavroudis - started going to nightclubs, Andrew always looked out for them.
Chris Merkis said: "He was always somebody I could trust, he was very fair with us.
"Even though he had his blood family, there would be so many people who would classify him as family, that's how open he was.
"Everyone his his presence felt his warmth. He would never judge anyone. He was a very free person."
Louie Couma said: "He always taught me that you could solve anything with words, diplomacy always prevails over violence. That is something that will aways stick with me."
Fifi Couma said: "He was really there for all of us as we were growing up. He guided us all through our adolescence."
Andrew met his partner, Monika Jarzabek, also known as Monika Mav, 15 years ago.
She said: "The only thing I can say is that of the seven billion people on the planet I was lucky enough to be chosen by him and to spend the best times of my grown-up life with the man.
"It makes me so proud that I was part of his life.
"He never ever cared about himself, he always cared for everyone else. There was never a situation he couldn't find a solution to.
"There was never anything bad, he would say don't worry, we can get it worked out."
His father, Louie, said: "He was my youngest son. I loved him with all my heart and soul and life is now gone in my heart. I wished it was me and not my son."
The family also extended their gratitude to NHS staff who cared for Andrew and to the emergency staff who tried to resuscitate him on the night he died.
His funeral will be held on Monday (December 7) with the procession travelling along the seafront at 11.15am and again at 12pm.