TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known chip-shop owner described as a “pillar of the community” and “caring and loving man” by his heartbroken family.

Paul Cook, 54, born and raised in Clacton, passed away on May 19 after spending time in the intensive care unit at Colchester Hospital. 

As well as being an adored father, son, and husband, Mr Cook was also the friendly and recognisable face of the award-winning fish and chip shop, The Golden Fillet. 

The former builder, who was a chef by trade, took over the Holland property somewhat spontaneously 24 years ago, alongside his wife of 27 years, Lisa. 


“We met after a friend set us up on a blind date, which we would always have a joke and laugh about,” said Mrs Cook.

“He phoned me the next day and we went for an Indian dinner, and then that was it, I was with him from that day, until the day he died.”

Not long after opening, the takeaway very quickly started to gain a positive reputation, not least because of Mr Cook’s desire to go above and beyond for his customers.

Ten years ago, for example, the shop shut for a four-week renovation, which could have been the perfect chance for Mr Cook to take some well-deserved time off.

But, determined not to let his regulars down, he ran a fish and chip van throughout the freezing winter months, while work on the shop was carried out. 

Every Christmas, he would also cook roast dinners for his more elderly and isolated customers, before then delivering the meals to their homes. 

“He worked so hard, seven days a week, and would sometimes go in at eight in the morning and not return until 11 at night,” his family said.

“He would always go and help people, even if he didn’t know them, and that is why he was such a pillar of the community.

“He just had such a big heart and would do anything for anyone, he was an icon of the Golden Fillet.”


Three years ago, the beloved father-of-four retired, leaving his legacy and labour of love in the capable hands of his children, Joseph, Samuel, Molly, and Alex. 

The high standard has been upheld ever since, and in 2019, they won the Gazette’s Chip Shop of the Year competition, which Mr Cook was incredibly proud of.

The passing of the keen fisherman and Ipswich Town fanatic has resulted in an overwhelming outpouring of tributes from the community, and now his family.

“We didn’t think he wasn’t going to come home, so it was a shock,” they said.

“He was a fighter and you always thought he would turn it around and keep going because that is the type of man he was.

“He would do anything for his kids, he idolised them and they were his life – as long as they were alright, he was alright. 

“He was a joker who would always play pranks on all of us, and he was just a generous, caring, and loving man – he was a legend.”

Paul Cook leaves behind his mother, his sister Lorraine, and one other sister.

His funeral takes place on June 26 at Weeley Crematorium, and his horse drawn hearse will park at the Golden Fillet beforehand for people to pay their respects. 

The Golden Fillet plans to re-open on June 9.