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Restaurant’s commemorative bench for popular customer

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A LOCAL restaurant has installed a bench in memory of a popular regular customer, Frank Lester, who died in January. 

Ardit and his bar staff, Finley and Antzelo with friends of Frank – Jenny and Mike Lane.

Having no family, Frank ate at the Il Vello d’Oro (Golden Fleece), the Italian restaurant and pub in Shaw, near Melksham, every day. After hearing of his death, restaurant owner, Ardit, arranged a gathering of fellow diners and a bench has now been installed outside the restaurant entrance to remember Frank. 

The bench was installed on Saturday 8th October, on the day of Frank’s birthday. A plaque on the bench reads: ‘In Memory of Frank Lester – 8.10.43 – 30.1.22.’ 

Born in London, Frank worked for many years in the famous Smithfield meat market in the city. A keen fisherman, he also had a fine memory of films going back to the 1940s. 

Frank later moved to live with his mother and sister near Melksham. He never married and after the loss of his family, he remained on his own in the house in Challymead. He became a regular customer of Il Vello d’Oro and continued to cook himself meals at home, based on his knowledge of meat. 

The restaurant’s owner, Ardy explained, “Frank would come in every day and he would always sit in the same corner. He was a character and if there was ever a day when he did not come in, we would ring to check he was ok. Frank had no family that we know of and a lot of people in the pub knew him. If he wasn’t there, no-one would sit in his corner and we all wondered where he was.” 

After not seeing Frank for a few days, and with no response from his phone calls, Ardy found out that Frank had died. He wanted to do something to remember him by and had the idea of funding and putting up a bench, as well as holding a gathering for friends in Frank’s memory. Ardy said, “We didn’t know when his funeral or cremation was what with him having no family, so we held a gathering at the pub with about 30-40 people who wanted to remember him. He was a lonely boy, but he had a lot of friends in the pub.” 


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