Tributes have flooded in after the sad loss of popular former Retreat chef Stuart Law.
Much-loved Stuart died at the age of 66 on Sunday and his passing has rocked the Stroud community, where he was at the very fabric of for more than 25 years. Hundreds of people have posted heartfelt condolences across social media and a celebration of memories page has been set up on Facebook.
Retreat landlord Ian Morrison led the tributes to his great friend and former chef who hung up his apron last year: “As many of you will now know our wonderful, lovable Stuart Law sadly died on Sunday. We are bereft, and he will be missed very deeply by so many, isn’t that the only sign that matters of a life fully lived Stuart had a natural gift with people, he could be kind and generous and witty and beautiful, and engaging and often hilarious company. Especially after the cig was lit and the wine was flowing. Stuart was never one for being mournful – we want you all to show the love we all have for him, and our gratitude for that love and friendship by celebrating his life.”
Vixs Ashcroft who worked at the Retreat recalled many a giggle with Stuart, she said: “RIP Stuart, thank you for all the memories. Music on full blast every morning while we prepped for the day, feeding me the most delicious food, and making me laugh, I loved working in that little kitchen with you. I know so many of us did. Oh, the gossip that went on! Sleep sweetly, I hope you’re galloping away into to light.”
Former bar manager Simon Cantillion found the news hard to comprehend: “The saddest of news and still so very difficult to comprehend. I don’t have a picture of Stuart on my phone to share, but I do have so many fond memories of working with him at The Retreat. One was his absolute love of this song by Toni Braxton back in the day. He would belt it out, completely off-key of course, while prepping food for lunchtimes. Literally back and forth to the minidisc player, time after time after time, every morning. Used to drive me insane!
“Well, Stuart, if you can hear me above your ‘dulcet tones’, keep singing and keep smiling on your continued journey. Rest in peace you absolute legend. All my love you absolute beauty.”
Retreat customer Fran Gannon looked back on a special man: “So many memories – brilliant (often acerbic) wit, SUCH energy and presence, and those rostis! Have fun wherever you are now. I hope the bellow of ‘Fraaaan, daaaaarling!’ will still echo somewhere not too far off, next time I walk into The Retreat.”
Margaret Major passed on her condolences: “So sad to read this. Such fond memories of blagging him into making me a hot chicken sandwich or his legendary smelly toast even if they weren’t on the menu. Always a smile, a laugh and a twinkle in his eye. RIP Stuart and thoughts with all his friends and family.”
Kerry Munday-Allen, who used to work behind the bar, said: “Can’t believe it. Such a big part of all our history. Such memories of us all. So sad. Thinking of you all at this time xx.”
Retreat customer Ben Falconer remembered Stuart as a vital component of Stroud life: “Very sad news, he was a fixture in Stroud town centre life. I always recommend his mango chutney/Stilton combo.”