A much-loved former Bellingham publican and businessman has died at the age of 86, after a short illness.

John Crozier was landlord of the Black Bull in the 1970s, and went on to take over the hardware shop in the village before setting up a successful carpet business.

The pub trade was in his blood, for John  was born at the Travellers Rest in Slaley, where his parents were licensees.

He attended Barnard Castle School, where he excelled at rugby, cricket and swimming.

When he left school he joined the army, for whom he also played rugby. He saw service in the Malayan Emergency and in the Suez Crisis, and also spent time serving with a Gurkha regiment.

On leaving the army, he became a carpet fitter for a large department store in Newcastle, and while fitting a carpet at a house in Blyth met his future wife Carole.

They were soon married, and moved to Bellingham to take over the Black Bull, where daughter Donna and son Jonathan were born.

During this period John enjoyed breeding and racing greyhounds, even appearing in Sporting Life. He was also a keen fisherman and enjoyed singing on karaoke nights.

The Croziers left the Black Bull in the mid 80s, but remained in the village, buying  Bickerton’s hardware shop, which Carole ran for many years, while John returned to the carpet business.  

The couple eventually started the Carpet Warehouse from their home at Crozier Cottage, where they sold and fitted carpets a well as starting a carpet cleaning business which operated for many years.

John’s funeral service will take place on Tuesday, October 25, at St Cuthbert’s Church in Bellingham at 11am, followed by committal at West Road Crematorium in Newcastle.

Afterwards there will be a buffet wake at the Fountain Cottage in Bellingham from 2pm where the family would like those who knew him to share their memories.