Sadly, George Michael was found dead at his riverside home on Christmas Day last year. In the village of Goring, Oxfordshire, where he had lived for 17 years, he’s remembered not as a superstar but as a neighbour and friend. Three of his neighbors remembered him to the BBC. A card was slipped through his letterbox in November of 2015.
“George, you’re not the only gay in the village. It will make my husband’s Christmas if you came into our pub. Hope to see you soon.“
The husband was Tim Schulz, owner of the Catherine Wheel pub near the star’s home and he was “horrendously embarrassed” when he found out what his husband James Dawe had done. But it worked! Just a few days later a large group of friends came into the pub. Schulz says,
“They were late, so I was sort of flustered and annoyed. They said they had a reservation… and as I was talking it suddenly dawned on me that it was George Michael standing in front of me.“
When the star asked for fish and chips, only moments after his chef said all of the cod was gone, Schultz panicked. But Michael preferred scampi, with a glass of white wine anyway, so crisis averted. The singer said he thought the card his husband had sent him was “cute” and that he
“Just wanted to say hi.“
After that night, Michael became a regular but never asked to be seated in a private area because he
“wanted to see everything that was going on. He wasn’t loud and extrovert or drawing attention to himself… but certainly in a one-on-one conversation he was very personable.“
Michael also frequented the Miller of Mansfield pub, just across the road from his 16th Century home. The manager, Mary Galer, says the people of Goring wanted a quiet existence just as much as their pop star resident did.
“It was his sanctuary. He lived here for a reason. We all understood he wanted to be out of the limelight and to live his life how he wanted to live it. He was a very loyal patron, one that was lovely to have – but as far as we were concerned he was a normal customer.“
Merry Christmas, George!
(Photos, Tim Schultz; via BBC)