WHEN practical joker Tony Corbett’s family found him lying on the bedroom floor, they thought he was playing an April Fool’s prank.
But they soon realised that the popular landlord was dying—just a day after paying his last respects to another well-known publican.
Tony (59), who ran the Butchers Arms in Swinton with wife Valerie, had fallen unconscious after suffering a brain aneurysm.
He was rushed to hospital but never woke up and died later the same day.
Valerie (57) this week described her shock at Tony’s death, which came the day after he had joined scores of other mourners in paying tribute at the funeral ofMargaret Fisher, who ran the Harlington Inn for 22 years.
Tony, known as “Corby” by his family and friends, started complaining of dizzy spells as he tried to get out of bed last Thursday morning.
Speaking with a slur, he told Valerie that he felt as though the floor was slipping from under his feet as he struggled to get out of bed.
He briefly stood up before collapsing to the floor, leaving Valerie and his daughter
Claire (36) believing he was playing a prank.
Valerie said: “We thought he was playing an April Fool’s joke on us. That was just the kind of person he was—but it was no joke.
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“It’s a massive shock to everyone—he was the life and soul of everything. If you ask anybody who knew him, he was just a great landlord.
“The people that came in were like family to him, not like customers. He just loved people and had to be at the centre of every crowd.”
Claire (36) said: “Everybody loved him. My husband used to say he was the closest thing to a celebrity in the town, he was so popular.
“We are just completely heartbroken—it’s a daughter’s worst nightmare to lose a dad. I’m just grateful that he got to see me get married and have a child.”
Tony would have been 60 in August and had planned to celebrate his milestone birthday with a long-awaited trip to Las Vegas.
“He always said that when he turned 60, we would go to Vegas,” Valerie said. “The tickets had been booked for ages. It’s just sad that will never happen now.”
Before taking over the reins at the Butchers Arms three years ago, Tony and his wife ran the Oak Tree Inn in Wath for more than 20 years.
Hundreds of friends and family have posted messages on a Facebook page in tribute to the pub stalwart.
Tony’s funeral will take place on Thursday at 1pm at St Margaret's Church, Swinton.
His death came within weeks of those of Margaret Fisher (60) and 62-year-old Bob Lowrie, who ran the Park Hotel in Mexborough.