TRIBUTES have been paid to a York landlord who transformed a run-down York city centre pub into an award-winning jazz venue.

Tim Everton, who ran The Phoenix, in George Street, died on Wednesday at home with his family after a year-long battle with prostate cancer.

The 59-year-old had been planning to host an open jazz jam session at his grade II-listed pub this weekend to celebrate his 60th birthday, which would have been on Monday, March 28.

The event has been postponed until 3pm on Saturday, April 2.

“It was his wish,” said his wife, Val. “That’s what he wanted – as a celebration of his life. Hopefully, a lot of our family will be coming up for it. We are hoping a lot of musicians will be able to make it.”

The couple bought The Phoenix in 2008 after it had been closed for a year following an unsettled period with various landlords at the helm.

It stages regular jazz nights on Wednesdays and Sundays, as well as other special events, and won the Camra Town Pub Of The Season last autumn and the Yorkshire Jazz Award Pub Venue Of The Year.

Matt Grant, chairman of the York branch of Camra, said Mr Everton would be sorely missed.

“He was a really nice guy, really friendly, and transformed the pub.

“It had been closed a while and effectively written off. It just shows how, when you get people like Tim, things can get turned round.

“He made you feel really welcome. He will be sorely missed.”

Mrs Everton said her husband, a former head of Cambridge University’s education faculty, had been “thrilled” at the accolades, having retired early to pursue his dream of running a pub.

Mrs Everton said: “It was something he always wanted to do. He took two years to find the pub and a year to do it up. It has gone so well.”

Ron Burnett, a York jazz musician and jazz columnist for The Press, said the jazz pub accolade had been “very fitting”.

“I don’t think there’s any other pub in the north of England that puts so much jazz on.”

He said: “Tim was unique. He was a very dignified man who was very keen to promote music and real ale.”

Mr Everton, a father-of-three, recently spent a lot of time at their house in Robin Hood’s Bay. He was also passionate about rugby, cricket and West Bromwich Albion FC.

The pub closed on Wednesday, but has reopened for business and will be run by the couple’s daughter, Jenny, and her partner Jon. Mr Everton leaves two other daughters, Kate and Laura.