PUB landlord Gerry Caswell was a larger than life character well known for his no nonsense methods in dealing with rowdy drunks.

He arrived in Swindon in 1971 after the M4 arrived on the outskirts of Swindon. The building work had attracted a large number of Irish workers and they had settled with their families in the town.

Gerry, then known as Goodey, had run pubs in Reading and Oxford before moving to Swindon. When his then wife Theresa won the pools they paid for the deposit on The Ship Hotel in Westcott Place.

It was one of the Irish community’s most popular watering holes as well as a favourite with the police for post shift pints and the high jinks he had to cope with were legendary in the town.

He had a very straightforward way of ejecting troublesome drunks – slinging them over his shoulder, taking them out and dumping them the other side of the wall. There were many who woke up the next morning cold, wet and wondering what had happened.

He left when his marriage failed and ran a café for a while near the Beehive, but then decided to go into civil engineering and moved south into Wiltshire.

“He liked the fresh air and being outside,” his widow Andrea told the Advertiser. “He used to do a lot of building work with his father when he was a boy. He said it was like going down the garden with his dad.”

The smoky atmosphere in pubs had taken its toll on his lungs but he loved building work so much that he carried on well after retirement age. He was 74 when he and his labourer laid all the paving around the Conigre development in Trowbridge. It was one of several projects he worked on in the area.

“There is an awful lot of his blood and sweat scattered around the town,” said Andrea. “He was very big and strong. He was a hard worker and he loved it. He went to work every day until he was 74.”

In fact he was made to accept redundancy because he didn’t want to give up work. “He couldn’t cope with sitting still,” she said. “He played hard, he worked hard and he liked his beer. He was very well loved and very well respected.”

Gerry married Andrea 29 years ago, taking her surname as well as a stepson, Richard. “He took my name to protect my baby,” she said. The couple went on to have another child, Matthew.

Towards the end of his life he struggled with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, even though he gave up smoking 30 years ago.

He died on January 26 after contracting a chest infection and pneumonia. Along with his second family he leaves two children, Dawn and Gerald, from his first marriage, as well as six grandchildren. A funeral service is being held at West Wiltshire Crematorium, Semington on February 22 at 10am.