The waiter who charmed stars

Jose Gomez with his youngest grandchild Josef
Jose Gomez with his youngest grandchild Josef
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The funeral is being held tomorrow of a former head waiter who met stars including Errol Flynn during a 30-year career at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool.

Eustace Gomez, who was more commonly known as Jose or Joss, also attended to prime ministers and royalty as well as training countless catering staff at the top hotel.

He died last Tuesday, aged 99 – just months short of his 100th birthday which he was due to celebrate in December.

Born in Liverpool, his father was originally from the Cape Verde islands.

After serving in the Merchant Navy, including in the Atlantic Convoys during the Second World War, Mr Gomez moved to Blackpool and became head waiter at the Imperial in 1954.

Over the following years Hollywood stars Errol Flynn and Jayne Mansfield were among guests at the hotel who were looked after by Mr Gomez, as well as comedian Sir Harry Secombe.

He escorted prime ministers in town for party conferences, including Jim Callaghan who once was so busy chatting to Mr Gomez he was left downstairs while his Special Branch protection team were on their way up to his suite.

After leaving the Imperial, Mr Gomez continued to work until the age of 82 in other Fylde coast hotels including The Clifton, The Savoy and the North Euston.

His son Carl said: “He was a very friendly, charming, gentle, caring and humble man who endeared himself to everyone he met.

“When he was 80, the staff at the Clifton held a small celebration which caught the attention of the manager who was shocked at his age.”

Mr Gomez’s first wife Marie died in 1949.

He leaves his second wife Evelyn, five children, Carol, Tina, Tony, Victor and Carl, and nine grandchildren.

In 2006 he and Evelyn moved back to Liverpool, and his funeral service will be held at 2pm tomorrow at Christopher Grange care home, Youens Way in the city.