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Tributes paid to Canvey man who ran historic casino
9:10am Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
MOVING tributes have been paid to a beloved Canvey man who was a “true gentleman” and figurehead in the island community for almost 60 years.
Residents came together yesterday to pay their respects to Clary Swann who passed away in his sleep on February 22, aged 94.
Since 1935 Mr Swann played an integral role in managing, and later owning, the popular Casino amusements along Eastern Esplanade before it closed in 1993.
Hundreds of holidaymakers flocked to the historical venue by the busload to enjoy the impressive ballroom, casino, slot machines, fairground dodgems and boating lake every summer right up until it shut down.
Lifelong family friend Phillip Coley, 60 of Kimberley Road, Benfleet, said: “My brother and I have known him all our lives, and he was the kind of person who would never say no to helping us when we needed it.
“The casino was his entire business life and he always took such a deep interest in Canvey. Clary was so full of life you would never have guessed he was 94. It’s such a sad day and he leaves behind two gorgeous daughters and a loving family who will miss him dearly.”
Mr Swann, who was once president of the island’s Chamber of Trade, also helped manage the Monico Pub when it opened in 1938, which still remains the prominent landmark along Canvey seafront.
Veteran Canvey councillor Ray Howard said: “It was with great regret and sadness that I heard this news. I feel so very privileged to have known him. He was hardworking, sincere and was a thorough gentleman.
“Canvey has lost a very very special person.”
He leaves behind his devoted wife Margaret, and daughters, Liz Swann, who is a town councillor, and Lea Swann who owns a cafe along the seafront.