TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular landlady who always put others before herself.

Hilary Trafford, known as Hils, ran The Blacksmiths Arms in Lastingham for more than 16 years with her husband Pete. She died on July 2, aged 62.

Originally from Nuneaton, Hils moved to Mablethorpe as a child where her dad ran a nightclub.

After working there for a number of years, she joined Marks and Spencer as a store detective working her way up to oversee 20 shops.

Pete said: “I first met Hils when I was working as a rep and then we bumped into each other again in a pub 20 years ago and got together then.

“I had taken on a pub in Ossett and Hils continued to work for M&S, and would then rush home each evening to cook for us in the pub.

“We were working hard to build the business up and eventually Hils decided to come and work at the pub full-time.”

The couple moved to the Blacksmiths Arms were they were married in 2004. Last year they were awarded a 2019 Countryside Alliance Award for best pub in Yorkshire.

Pete said: “It has been hard work, but we have built up the pub and now our regulars are more like friends than customers.

“Hils was a grafter all her life and worked 24/7 with only one holiday a year.”

Pete added: “Hils was also a very, very talented painter and loved creating things, which is something she was hoping to do more of when we retired.”

Hils, who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), had been ill since last October and spent three days in intensive care with pneumonia.

“Since Christmas Hils had been going slowly down hill, but she still found the strength to keep going and never complained,” Pete said.

“She always put other people before herself and never wanted me to worry.”

Pete said that since her death he had received more than 200 cards.

“Everyone has been fantastic, all our friends, customers and staff who have had so much to cope with but have really stepped up,” he said.

“One card described Hils as one of the strongest women they had met and someone who was always there for you, which really epitomises what Hils was like.”