Popular Wimbledon chip shop owner loses cancer battle
A “pillar of Wimbledon” whose fish and chip shop was hailed as the best in Merton has tragically lost his battle to cancer.
George Poupides, the owner of Broadway Place in Hartfield Road, died aged 63 on Wednesday, August 22, after succumbing to an aggressive brain tumour.
He is survived by his wife, Vasoulla and children Adam and Laura, who have invited family, friends and customers to take part in the funeral procession in Hartfield Road on Monday, September 3, at 9.30am.
The popular restaurant has been closed since Mr Poupides had the tumour diagnosed in October 2011, and was only expected to live for several months.
His 34-year marriage to wife Vasoulla was in the same year as when the couple opened up the shop in 1978, when her dad suggested to his new son-in-law that he go into business for himself.
She said: “It will be a great loss. It will be a wrench. Cancer is a demon of a disease.
“It was very traumatic when George first went into St Raphael's Hospice but I have to say to people that you must not be afraid of hospices – they are fantastic places full of amazing people.
“We had to surrender in the end and it’s been a very long struggle and the support from our customers has been fantastic.
“We were overwhelmed by all the cards people wrote and we were so grateful. We would spend more time with customer than we did with our own family so they were a big part of our lives.
“His cancer was diagnosed in October last year and the doctors only gave him between two and four months to live.
"It was devastating news when they said it would be inoperable. From then we managed to stretch it until August 22.
“The fish shop was our life, it was where we were married and set up and just plodded on. We don’t know what will happen next – it was George’s project and he built it from nothing."
"We would like to thank a number of people and teams for their help and support during George's illness: Dr Martyn and Angela Wake and the team at the Church Lane Practice, Sarah Costerton and the pallative care team, and all the staff at St George Hospital - in particular Mr Marsh's neuro-oncology team with special thanks to Jo Johnson."
Mr Poupides was an electrical engineer until the opportunity came to take over the fish and chip shop down the road, upon the retirement of Leslie and Ann Wymers, who had a chain of chippies in Mitcham and elsewhere.
The funeral will be held at Kingston Greek Orthodox Church and George will be interred at Sutton Cemetery.
Merton Councillor Peter Walker, who lives in Caroline Road, Wimbledon, was a regular visitor with his family to Broadway Place in Hartfield Road, and said it was the “best chippy in the world”.
He added: “They were a lovely couple and the community absolutely loved that chippy. It’s very sad to lose someone who was a pillar of Wimbledon.”
And Coun David Dean, who represents Dundonald ward in Wimbledon, said he had "scoffed their chips since he was a teenager" and agreed it was the best fish and chip shop he had known.
He added: "It's a very sad day for the hundreds of devoted customers."
Vasoulla has pledged to raise money for St Raphael’s Hospice by taking part in the Midnight Walk on September 22.
The family also asked the Wimbledon Guardian to share this poem they have dedicated to Mr Poupides:
A limb has fallen from the family tree.
I keep hearing a voice that says, "Grieve not for me.
Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.
The good life I lived while I was strong.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that peace at the close of day.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
My life’s been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Continue my heritage, I'm counting on you.
Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.
Remembering all, how I truly was blessed.
Continue traditions, no matter how small.
Go on with your life, don't worry about falls
I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.
Until the day comes we're together again.