Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ Sidmouth hotelier Alan Clifford

PUBLISHED: 12:02 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:02 20 April 2017

Alan Clifford who died at the age of 78.

Alan Clifford who died at the age of 78.

Archant

A popular Sidmouth hotelier has been remembered for his generous nature, work ethic and positive attitude.

Alan Clifford and his wife Val outside the Devoran hotel which they ran for 30 years.Alan Clifford and his wife Val outside the Devoran hotel which they ran for 30 years.

Alan Clifford died peacefully aged 78 in Sidmouth Nursing Home on March 29 after battling cancer for two-and-a-half years.

The grandfather-of-two ran the Devoran Hotel with his wife Val for three decades and was passionate about making guests feel like family and serving home-cooked food.

Since his death, Alan’s family has received more than 130 cards and hundreds more messages online from friends, guests and staff right across the UK.

His son, Ian, said: “It’s his personality and humanity, generosity, love, sense of hospitality and trust that will live on for me and in the family. His impact on our lives is enormous and continues.”

Born Humberto De Barros Canha in Funchal, Madeira, Alan worked to provide for his family after his father died when he was three.

As a teenager, he worked as a tour guide in Funchal and met his adoptive parents, Connie and Claud Clifford, while they were on holiday and made a ‘brave decision’ to return with them to England.

In 1962, he married Val and the couple moved to Sidmouth in 1971 to take on the Devoran Hotel.

Visitors referred to it as the ‘pink hotel’ as the couple had painted it the same shade as their house in Wolverhampton. The couple were keen supporters of the Sidmouth Britain in Bloom campaigns and produced award-winning colourful hanging baskets.

Val said: “It was both our lives. We were there every day - we did not have a day off throughout the season. It was our lives’ work.”

When the couple took over the hotel, the premises had five toilets in the whole building.

Val added: “Alan became a chef - he had never been one before, but he was a quick learner. And then he became a barman and plumber and an electrician and bricklayer and bed-fixer and seagull-scarer and every other possible job you would have to learn running a hotel.”

After retiring in 2001, Alan continued to enjoy gardening and DIY projects. His family added his two grandchildren, Robyn and Calvin, were a source of great happiness and pride for him.

His daughter Tina said: “He became a well-known, friendly face around the town, was always willing to help others, and was also a member of Sidmouth Rotary club. He was a very jovial character. He always looked on the positive side of life and was an inspiration to us all.”

The avid car fan made his final journey along the seafront to Exeter Crematorium in a silver hearse on Wednesday, before a thanksgiving and celebration service at Sidmouth Parish Church for 150 people.

Other News Stories

14:16

Mayor tells banner-waving crowds that the fight now is to save the actual hospital

Read more

Beautiful Days Festival revellers pulled out all the stops, with a host of colourful and creative costumes, dressing as pirates, mermaids, sailors, fish and crustaceans and a host of seaside treasures, embracing the festival’s 2017 Rock the Boat theme.

Read more
07:03

Judge says it was clear woman was in fear of a drug addict who bullied her into buying a firearm

Read more
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Crowds learning more about the work of Exmouth RNLI watched two real-life recsues when the inshore lifeboat crew was twice paged to respond during the lifeboat station open day.

Read more
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Schools and colleges in Axminster, Colyton, Honiton and Lyme Regis are announcing their exam successes

Read more
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New care at home service to be launched from next week (August 21)

Read more
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Budleigh Salterton farmers’ market is appealing for more support from the public and stallholders in a bid to protect the event’s future

Read more
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

RNLI thanks Lt Cdr Tom Burrows for his surprise fly-past during lifeboat week

Read more
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A man was attacked in Exmouth town centre; he was repeatedly punched in the face, prompting police to appeal for witnesses to come forward with information. If you can help, call 101 and quote crime number CR/067694/17.

Read more
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Marine Theatre is set to launch its new young people’s programme

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read News

Place a family notice

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

FFind planning applications