THE funeral service of former local landlord Merv Procter will be held at Taunton Deane Crematorium on Thursday, January 26 (9.30a.m.).

Merv, described as ‘a real family man,’ passed away at Musgrove Park Hospital , Taunton, at the age of 83 on New Year’s Day following a long illness.

He ran two pubs in the area with his wife Heather - the Half Moon at Clayhidon from 1965-70 and the Merry Harriers, on the Blackdown Hills, now sadly in ruins, from 1970-86, both being popular hosts.

As a youngster, he became a professional jockey but his career was ended at the age of only 23 following an accident at Newton Abbot. He continued his interest in racing right up to his death.

Merv later became a thatcher and he passed on the craft by teaching others.

He is survived by his wife, daughter Diane, two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

His home with Heather when he died was Flopsybunny Farm, Foxmoor, near Wellington.

It is family flowers only at the crematorium but donations, if desired, will be shared between the Blackdown Support Group and Love Musgrove (specially the Mind Group) and may be given at the service, or sent c/o H Tredwin & Son, 15 & 17, North Street, Wellington, TA21 8LX.