Hundreds pay emotional tribute to '˜big hearted' Pep at Peterborough service

They lined the streets and they lined the church to say a fond farewell to '˜big hearted' Pep, the well loved restauranteur.

Wednesday, 17th October 2018, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th October 2018, 7:00 pm
Pep's coffin being carried into the church

Hundreds of people took time out today to pay their respects to the former owner of The Pizza House in Cowgate, who passed away after a battle with kidney problems aged just 56, leaving behind a partner and four children.

Tears flowed at the end of a moving church ceremony which included a touching tribute from Pep’s niece Daniella Fasulo, speaking on behalf of the family.

“His beautiful smile and personality lit up the room and contributed massively to the success of the business,” said Daniella, reflecting on her uncle’s fine career after an inauspicious stint as a barber where he “accidentally cut off someone’s ear!”

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Pep's coffin being carried into the church

Pep was born Guiseppe in Peterborough in 1962 - the youngest of four brothers.

His charming personality made him a very popular figure, as evidenced by the huge numbers of people who lined Cowgate from 10.30am to see the funeral cars, while hundreds more attended St Peter and All Souls’ Roman Catholic Church in Geneva Street for a Requiem Mass.

“He was too young to die. His sudden death left his family and friends in shock and deep sadness and bereaved,” Father Waldi Smialek told the congregation, and tears flowed at the end as Pep’s coffin was carried out ahead of a burial at Fletton Cemetery.

The coffin had been brought in to the sounds of Autumn Leaves by Ed Sheeran, and it was standing room only in the church as the service, led by Father Waldi and Deacon Claudio Chiappinelli, began.

Daniella’s turn came towards the end of the service. She revealed how her uncle Guiseppe would get himself in trouble and would struggle to get out of it because he “was not a good liar”.

But his fun side was evident from the start. As the “comedian of the family” he would regularly perform his comedy act every Sunday night in front of a captive audience, and that cheeky side remained a feature of his personality throughout his near four decades at The Pizza House, as evidenced by the outpouring of tributes following his death on September 26.

Daniella said she was “humbled” to be delivering the family eulogy. She told the large congregation, including those listening in from outside: “While I’m humbled to be able to speak on behalf of the family, my words are the tip of the iceberg when trying to convey what was so special about my Uncle Pep”.

Charitable and charming, loving and considerate, and full of wisdom and quick-witted comebacks, were how Daniella described her uncle.

She concluded: “You were the light of many lives, especially mine. I will never forget our long conversations. You never failed to put a smile on my face. You had the biggest heart - it was your greatest quality, and in some cases your biggest flaw.

“We will all never forget you. We will always cherish you in our hearts and deep in our souls. We will always love you. Rest in peace.” The congregation applauded loudly before later listening to Helen Didsbury sing ‘Hallelujah’ as the service came to an end.