UPDATED: Bury St Edmunds pub to host guest ale in ‘legend’ Corky’s memory

The Grapes is hosting a guest ale in Corky's memory
The Grapes is hosting a guest ale in Corky's memory
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A Bury St Edmunds pub is to host a guest ale in memory of a much-loved customer who died last week.

Richard Mansfield, who many know only as ‘Corky’, passed away on Friday morning (April 22) at Risby Hall Nursing Home.

Corky, John Capon and Louie in The Grapes in the early 1980s (photo courtesy of John Capon)

Corky, John Capon and Louie in The Grapes in the early 1980s (photo courtesy of John Capon)

He was well known around Bury and his death has sparked an outpouring of tributes across social media.

Posting on The Grapes’ Facebook page, Ants Spink said: “Another legend taken this year.”

Angela Doherty posted: “Rip corkie, he was one of kind. Xx”

Martin ‘Coley’ Cole said: “One of Bury’s legends!”

Corky (photo courtesy of Alisha Hodgons)

Corky (photo courtesy of Alisha Hodgons)

For one week, from tomorrow (April 27), the pub in Brentgovel Street will stock a guest ale, named ‘Corky Best’, in his honour.

Louise Skinner, the pub’s general manager, said: “In remembrance of local legend Corky, we are hosting a guest ale in our pub, ‘Corky Best’. He was a friend to the pub team and our customers and will be missed within the community.”

It follows a campaign by Tony Wilson who received masses of support after posting the following message on the ‘We Love Bury St Edmunds’ Facebook page on Friday:

“A true Bury legend has gone today. I think you will all agree we need a lasting reminder of a great man. What better way than campaigning for Greene King to bring out ‘CORKY’S ALE’ in his memory.”

Tony, owner of Abbey Cars, said: “Anyone who’s lived in Bury for more than about 20 years can’t not know him. He’s just an old legend, a character from the town.

“He used to joke that we should have a statue made of him and I said ‘no, a beer’.”

“Everyone knows him, whether you go to the cafes, the pubs or the market.”

“I just think someone like that should be remembered,” he added.

Miss Skinner said The Grapes would be hosting Corky Best twice a year to mark Corky’s birthday and the anniversary of his death.

She will also be getting a brass plaque made with his name on to display on the bar.

“It will be like Corky’s a permanent fixture in the place,” she said.

“He was part of the furniture. Everyone who knew The Grapes knew Corky – Corky and The Grapes went hand in hand.”

She recalled the way he used to tease her daughter, Faith, with his spider tattoo, his unique ‘arm waving’ greeting and the way he would talk to anyone, no matter who they were.

“He was kind and caring,” she said. “No-one was ever offended by him - he was a lovely character.”

John Capon used to own the tattoo studio above Vic’s cafe, in St John’s Street, which Corky regularly visited.

He said: “He was a real character and will be missed by all who knew him.

“It is lovely to see how many messages are appearing on Facebook and his daughter Susan’s page, just shows how many people’s lives he touched. He will be with his great pals, Oscar and another legend Woffie, and having a great time.

“A good pal, not sadly missed, just missed.”

Corky’s granddaughter Hayley Charman said: “Corky was never your typical granddad, as you and those that knew him can probably imagine.

“In fact it will probably come as a surprise to most people that he even had grandchildren! But he did, there is me, my younger sister Lorna (Buckle) and our cousin Luke (Mansfield). I remember in school when I would tell my peers that Corky was my granddad, the complete shock on their faces – “what, that strange man with all the tattoos?!” – some didn’t believe me at all!

“But I remember him as always being sweet and warm whenever I would see him in town, usually with my mum. She loved him and he her, and therefore I loved him too, even if we were never that close growing up. He was always happy to see me and my sister and would greet us with a big hug, and sometimes even a chocolate bar!

“I know he had a complicated life and the last few years had been very hard for him, so it’s lovely to see so many people remembering Corky as the fun, roguish character that he was.”

Mehmet Dogan, manager of the North End Cafe in St Andrew’s Street North, said Corky used to come in regularly for a cup of tea.

“He was very friendly, full of tattoos and quite rough looking, but very friendly, very nice and very gentle,” he said.

Darren Old, chairman of the Bury branch of the National Market Traders’ Federation, said: “He was a character from around the town that everybody knew of. I don’t think the image portrayed the man, I think he was more a gentle giant.”

Posting on the ‘Spotted in Bury St Edmunds’ Facebook page, Louise Klimowicz-Pask said: “Well known local man, lovely man..... everyone knew him, such a character...very sad!”

Donna Walker said: “Was an all time legend.”

Rebekah Louise McCleary said: “Such a lovely and wonderful man. My mum and dad have know him for years as they use to go for a drink with Corky .... Rest In Peace Angel.”

*If you knew Corky we would love to hear from you. Do you have a photograph or memory of him to share? If so email laura.smith@buryfreepress.co.uk or call 01284 757836.