COLLEAGUES have paid tribute to their "friend and manager" who passed away at the age of 48.

Simon Dawson worked as a manager at the Old Mill pub in Holbury for over 13 years and was said to be well known in the Waterside area.

Having held several roles in other pubs nearby before joining the Old Mill, Mr Dawson lived above the pub in Lime Kiln Lane.

But after working a shift on July 11, staff were informed the next day that he had passed away.

Now thousands have viewed a Facebook post on the pub's page paying tribute to him with all music cancelled last week following his death.

In the post, the pub said: "On behalf of the Old Mill owners and staff we are truly heartbroken at the tragic loss of our friend and manager Simon - he has left us all too soon and we are going to miss him beyond words - he truly was the heart and soul of The Old Mill."

Born in Portsmouth, Mr Dawson played for the Fawley Falcons in his younger years as a goalkeeper and was also said to be a massive Tottenham Hotspur and England fan.

Co-owner of the pub, Jackie Cleary told the Daily Echo: "It's been a massive loss to us. We're all missing him dreadfully. Everyone that knew him has been deeply affected by his loss.

"He was just a very popular, very well known and very well loved guy. He became friends with everyone in the waterside area. Nobody had a bad word to say about him.

"The staff all admired him and all worked hard for him. He's in the bricks and mortar of this place. He was so proud of all the team."