Described as one of the town’s biggest characters, Elizabeth ‘Mary’ Phillips - landlady of The Gremlin - died on Tuesday, February 15 at the age of 72.
Better known by Brecon residents as Mary, her son Gareth Phillips described her as a “force of nature’ who “always put 100,000 per cent” into everything she did.
Mr Phillips said: “There are no words that can sum up what sort of lady she was really. She’s someone who, when people meet her, they never forget her and that just shows by all the responses I’ve been having from all over the world.
“There’s nothing to sum her up really, she was a huge force of nature and there’s a gap that nothing is ever going to replace her, certainly not in the pub, but I don’t think in the town or in the YFC or in the theatre.
“She was board member right from the day it was built until about six or eight months until she went into hospital. She was chairman for a long period while it was in financial difficulty and she helped pulled them out of that. All the Welsh theatre people have got so much respect and admiration for her. Everything she did, she did with 100,000 per cent, she gave it her all.”
The 45-year-old said that while the family is sad, they are also proud that she was so well known and loved by the community.
Mr Phillips described the amazing community outreach since his mother passed away of a respiratory illness last month.
He said: “She was huge in the local community, she was huge with the young farmers associations. With the theatre world. Huge in the horse racing world. She was just huge in everything she did really - she was that sort of character.
“I could probably say I’ve received four or five hundred cards
“I’ve had flowers sent from Australia, it’s amazing - I don’t know how many Facebook messages we’ve had on my site and The Gremlin’s site. You just can’t read them all .
“We’ve got loads of flowers which have been given to us and there’s a picture up of her and I’ve put as many cards as I can up. Our little Friday after work club met and we all had a good old drink together and catch-up on all this many, many, many hundreds of thousands of stories that we can all tell.”
Mary Phillips was brought up in the Swansea Valley near the Dan-yr-Ogof showcases before she moved to Liabnus with her former husband.
After staying in Libanus for 15 years, she moved to Llanfaes in Brecon in 1986 where she worked for Davies Farm Supplies before moving to Hay and Brecon Farmers as an animal health specialist around 1989.
She retired from Hay and Brecon farmers as a retail and marketing specialist adviser before she eventually took on The Gremlin. Her involvement with the young farmers, theatre and various other groups meant she was a community figure for the town.
Ms Phillips had been part of the team at The Gremlin for almost 27 years - while she was no longer running the pub on The Watton in recent years, she was still heavily involved
Mr Phillips, who currently runs The Gremlin, said: “She worked at The Gremlin from the start really, doing all the book work really right up until she went into hospital 12 months ago.”
“She was still, if not running place, very much involved. It will be 27 years this year - that’s when we first bought it. She loved the pub she was the life and soul of it.”
The Brecon stalwart was a treasured mother to her sons Kevin and Gareth as well a much loved grandmother to Lowri, and a great-grandmother to Lili-May and the late Ryan. She was also a cherished sister and auntie who will be “dearly missed by all her friends”.
Ms Phillips’ funeral procession will leave from The Gremlin on Monday, March 7, before travelling to Brecon Cathedral for her funeral at 2pm. There will only be family flowers, and the family have requested that any donations “if so desired” are made to Ty Hafan. The family will probably look to raise a pint of cider to Ms Phillips before the procession leaves the pub on Monday.
Mr Phillips said: “We’ll be going from the pub and we’ll probably all have a pint of Strongbow before we go because that was her drink”