'A people person' - Son's tribute to hotelier and tourism champion

Richard and Bridget Delf

Richard and Bridget Delf - Credit: Jason Delf

A hotelier with more than 60 years experience in the Great Yarmouth tourism sector has died at the age of 82.

Richard Delf, who died on December17, had been the face of Palm Court Hotel on the seafront up to about five years ago and had championed the town's tourism offer.

The father-of-three had been the chairman of the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Hotel Association and an active member of the East Anglian Tourist Board.

Trained as a chef and hotel manager, which enabled him to be a tutor at Great Yarmouth College of Further Education, Mr Delf worked at the Carlton Hotel before he joined the family hotel business at the Imperial and Burlington hotels.

Richard Delf had been the "face" of the Palm Court Hotel

Richard Delf had been the "face" of the Palm Court Hotel - Credit: Anthony Carroll

The hotels separated in 1960 with Mr Delf's side of the family taking on the Burlington, which was later incorporated into the Palm Court Hotel.

In November 1966 the Palm Court Hotel was bought at auction by the family.

The business later expanded with the acquisition of Hedera House in Thurne, which was a self-catering chalet site, and the purchase of Marine Lodge hotel on Great Yarmouth seafront.

Mr Delf met his future wife Bridget when he gatecrashed a Palmers staff party at the Garibaldi.

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They were married for 57 years.

Hotelier Richard Delf has died at the age of 82

Hotelier Richard Delf has died at the age of 82 - Credit: Jason Delf

He was a councillor for Northgate Ward, chairman of Great Yarmouth and District Roundtable, founding member and past president of the Great Yarmouth Haven Rotary Club, a Master of East Norfolk Lodge, past chairman of the Quay Investment Club and press officer for Great Yarmouth Swimming Club.

Outside of the hotel trade he loved horse racing, investing in the stock market, boating on the Norfolk Broads and gardening in his later years.

His son Jason Delf, 55 and a hotel director, said his father loved meeting and greeting guests.

He said: "Dad was a people's person, an absolute people's person. He loved socialising and was a happy outgoing man."

Mr Delf leaves wife Bridget, sons Nick and Jason, daughter Sophie, five grandchildren Ellen, Joseph, Joshua, Jacob and Jessie May and two greatgrandchildren Daisy and Tilly.

The funeral service will be held at the Minster on January 12 from 1.30pm. After a private ceremony at Gorleston Crematorium there will be a wake at the Palm Court Hotel to celebrate Mr Delf's life.